travel.: Follow The Red Dirt Roads. Accra, Ghana.

this baked earth


Ghana is beautiful, so, so beautiful.

I keep pinching myself and gently pulling my hair asking am I really here? I am! The stories of Ghana that I knew first came through a first generation Ghanian. Then, as I became curious, they came through research and media.  Yet, as a traveler knows, the stories one experiences themselves,  become the ones that make the circle of all acquired knowledge complete. It is those stories that make a journey into the interior of its ways, leading to more than the result of smoke and mirrors.

There is so much here from the north to the central region and the west to explore and I’m
so far from ‘completing’ that circle, but there are pieces to add to the ring. So far, from the red dirt roads that I’ve walked; to the front seat taxi drivers I’ve asked a dozen questions of, the baristas who’ve explained their drinking culture, to the roadside coconut stands that are a daily culture cooler and the night chats in Osu on Ghana today the lens of culture here is a rich one to peer through. Where my cedis (Ghc) at?

These spaces that I speak of and have been in  have taught me that locals here believe in the power of a better and fair election this year: they are hopeful for change in a country of major development. In a cab, I learned that a lot is burned here, to see smoke huddle alongside paved roads is a sight of normalcy – you might find tree leaves being burned as part of personal civil responsibility to keep streets clean here; you might be lured into a white billow of smoke by the smell of red pepper spice and brown sugar,  delivering you to a grill of whole fish where heads and eyes are in tact staring back at you, or, it might just be a family burning the day’s trash.

Then there’s the women! Their spirit is strong, as sellers in the market, as independent entrepreneurs seeking goods between car lanes, as keepers of cultural stories and as maternal heirs to thrones. They hold it down; they run things and they hug intensely : I love that!

The heat and humidity puts all other heat I’ve experienced so far to shame, my tan is real and lovely. The street scenes are like a photo essay out of National Geographic and then I tell myself fast I’m living what people document. The erected wood structures are like seeing an endless juxtaposition of colors – an eternal West African mood board.

The conversations are like a piano – the keys of sound from human voices are at times deep like bass and at other times higher pitched, fast and passionate. Are deals being signed, are bundles of plantains being bargained for, is fabric being negotiated by the yard, is a child being scolded, is a man affirming his position on a construction deal? Life and its style is all around and by conjecture everywhere.

Being here, I am witness to the Ghana that I see, the stories that draw me, the energy of a people that draw me that tell a story of a Ghana I’m becoming to know.

Show and tell me more Ghana.