February 2, 2016, Kumasi, Ghana

We are checked into a rundown hotel with internet in Ghana's second largest city but haven' t actually had any success hooking into the network. My apologies to all of you who are taking this trip with us vicariously. I will post when I am able.

Kumasi is a very busy city, teeming with smog, taxis, tro-tros and people. Since sellers take up what space there is along side the roads and the roads are all edged with huge open ditches, all of the delivery people, with wares on their heads, and all of the pedestrians are on the road dodging traffic. In cases where the traffic is gridlocked, it is quite safe. Today, we had several close calls. In one case, we and a few others, dodged into a woman's used clothing display to avoid being hit. Luckily she was quite nice about it. Since I am only able to take an hour or so in this overwhelming noise, heat and confusion, Jim and I have to regularly find a place in the shade selling cold beer. At the first of this trip, we each always ordered a giant beer. Now since I seem to require so many escapes from the reality of Africa, we just share one large cold Club beer, so that we can enjoy several escapes in a day. I don't even like beer at home, but here it tastes clean, cold, safe, quiet and absolutely delicious.

In India, we noticed the huge loads of stuff on the motorcycles and trucks. Here in Ghana, I am amazed at the huge loads carried on the tops of heads. We have seen sewing machines, big barrels, loads of disposable diapers, building materials, fire wood, refridgerators,, suitcases as well as the usual loads of food, water, pot scrubbers and shoe laces. I have many many photos of people (mostly women) with babies tied onto their backs and loads on their heads.

I haven't managed to make any sense of the viability of most of the small businesses. How many pairs of second hand shoes, old towels or pot scrubbers, would a person sell in a day?
I also don't know if the proliferation of Christian churches provides enough value for the money and time invested. We were in a small villages, last Sunday, when the many many churches were literally competing with each other to see who could broadcast the most noise. All of the churches have their own schools as well and instead of building cohesive communities, I have the feeling that these churches are divisive. It appears that allot of church hype comes from outside of Ghana. We have seen bill boards offering "Nights of Bliss", or " Miracles, Healing and Salvation" put on by foreign evangelists in huge stadiums. The majority of all of the small shops have Christian names; "Our Faith in God Car Repairs", "Rosary Radiators", "Only Prayer, Furniture and Construction", Anointed Peace and Love, Fish and Fashion". I initially thought the names were a bit funny, but now I feel sad that the historic African culture has been so compromised.

The Ghanian people are certainly it's biggest asset. They are very friendly bunch of people. We have only seen a few other "obrunis" (white guys) since we arrived three weeks ago. Almost everyone greets us, welcomes us, smiles at us and tries to be helpful, even if sometimes they have no idea what we are asking or where we might want to go.