Finally, I get to Accra and back at the office. The latter days of the research was fun and tiring. We planned on visiting a town called Soccerkrom; there it was my intention to ask the chief how they came by the name. Unfortunately, we had to leave out this town on very technical reasons.
Two days before the final day, I had a ride on a motorbike through several cocoa farms; climbing steep slopes and passing on thin wooden planks acting as bridges on small muddy streams. On more than one occasion I had to get down and push the motorbike, whilst the rider tries to climb the slope. Then there was another time that I had to lift the back of the motorbike from a muddy stream. The back tire slipped off the think plank-bridge after the front tire had virtually crossed it. This particular ride was fun since it was my third or fourth time sitting at the back of a motorbike and the first time riding through a farm and a closely planted cocoa at that.
As we got to our destination, a bush fallow, we were treated to the painful stings of red ants (referred to as nhohow in Twi). These red ants are so fast that the very moment they land on you they find themselves in very close and private spaces. We were unlucky to have disturbed more than a nest of them. They showered themselves on us and scuttle into very very private spaces. We had to almost naked ourselves to get rid of them. The effect of their stings was still felt hours after the encounter.
|One of the Guides, the one who swam|
The mother of all fun came on the day before the final day. We had by then been restricted within a certain geographic coordinates and had to make sure that we sampled some villages located within these coordinates. Fortunately or unfortunately we selected Old Papase. Farmers at Old Papase cross the Bia River before going to their farms. And the forest is also located behind this river. Consequently, if I really need to get my GPS coordinates for the forest I had to cross the Bia River. Thank God I had a bold colleague with me. Our guides were afraid we would not go when we see the twin River we had to cross. We had to cross the Sarko River and the Bia River at the same time. These two rivers have different sources and routes. However, in this town and at that particular crossing point they merge and diverge a few meters away. It was really interesting to see two rivers merging but then again showing their distinctiveness.
|My Colleague walking to hard ground after the first crossing|
When we got to the crossing point, the canoe was on the other side. The guides hooted, a signal to check if someone was coming from the other side where the canoe/dugout was. If there were, the individual would hoot back. Silence meant there wasn't anyone coming and one of our guides swam across the river to fetch the dugout. We rowed to the other side and rowed back, wetting our shoes, trousers and more. I was very happy and scared at the same time, since this was my first time of crossing a river in a dugout. However, I did my best to suppress my fears. Once on the other side, we had to get into the forest by walking through muddy streams, barefooted.
|In the Dugout, a Passenger (in Red) Behind|
So from Kwamebikrom (meaning: a certain Kwame's town) to Fosukrom (Fosu's town) to Achiase, Kena, Bawa Camp, Oseikojokrom, Ahimakrom, Pillar 34, Old Pampramase, Old and New Papase, Nyamebekyere (God will provide, loosely), Kunkumso, Asempaneye (good news is good), and Sebebia, I am back to Accra. Though the travels has come to an end, as of now, the thrills still lives in me.
|In the Dugout II, 2nd Guide Behind|
I dedicate these posts on my travels to Kofi Akpabli, who has shown in his book A Sense of the Savannah, Tales of a Friendly Walk through Northern Ghana, which I am currently reading, that there is fun in every place we go. All that we need to do is to seek it. Usually, I would only have concentrated on the work and not the fun and would have negatively reported on my tiredness, the volume of the work and more. But now I know that I had some great fun which I would not have had sitting in my office in Accra.
There are hints that I would have to go back and explore another angle of the research. If that happens, I would let you know. But until then, I end here with much love. Thanks for following me through my travels within the Bia District of the Western Region of Ghana.