March 2, 2016

Axim, Ghana

After a couple of nights at Escape Three Point Lodge where we were totally hot and totally damp and dirty and where the promised internet never actually worked, we bit the biscuit and moved to our most expensive place yet, Axim Beach Resort. We arrived yesterday and I have already had five showers! I have already changed into my second clean shirt today! Escape Three Points had a charm but also had it's drawbacks ie. the wobbly walk up three big steps made with chunks of bamboo to the smelly compost toilet being only one of them. I do feel a bit guilty that it feels so good to have a real bathroom that has a shower and is clean and a real bed and air conditioning but this pampered Canadian had reached her limits. All is not perfect here though. Although, we got internet briefly yesterday afternoon, it hasn't worked since.

After breakfast this morning, and when it was clear that we wouldn't have internet, Jim and I set out on a path to walk to the town of Axim. Right at the start, Jim told me that there had been robberies mentioned in the guide book. I figured if there were enough robberies to write about them in the guide book then perhaps our walk to the village was a horrible idea. Despite this and despite the extreme heat, we carried on and made it safely to town.

Once we arrived in town, I knew that we were experiencing the highlight of the Ghanaian trip for me; seeing real life, doing real things. I didn't carry my paints, it being just too hot, and it was not possible to sneak my camera out of my pocket to get any photos, so I will try to share this morning with you in yet another word picture.

Two days ago,
I sat on the beach

And watched the fishing boats

Off shore.

Like giant colourful canoes,

They ride the waves.
A crew of about ten
Half naked men
Stand aboard waiting.
One man is sitting
In the stern and guiding the boat
With a small square sail,
Or an outboard motor.
Then, one of the standing fishermen
Jumps overboard
With one end of the net.

When the rest of the net is played out.
The boat loops back to
Pick up the fisherman in the water.

For the next half hour,

The crew labour
To haul in the catch.

Sitting and standing,

They pull the fish and net aboard.

Back and forth,
In blazing sun

These boats spend their day.

This morning,
Jim and I walk to Axim.
Hundreds of these fishing boats
Are pulled up on the sheltered shore.
The narrow sandy street
Is full of noise
From the ever present boom boxes.
The over powering smell of rotten fish
Makes me gag.
I will myself not to vomit.
Large groups of colourfully dressed black women,
With their big bowls ready,
Sort out the newest catch.
Tiny boys carry buckets on their heads.
Shop keepers sit in shady doorways.
Uniformed kids, big and little,
Head to school.
The road side food tables
Sell small plastic bags
Of kenke, banku or fufu.
Women deep fry
Plantain, prawns,
Cheese and sweet balls of dough,
Everyone stares at us.
Often people flash big white toothy smiles
And return our greetings.
This is Ghana;
The Ghana of smells, colours, sounds and smiles.
This is the Ghana that I love.