My sister Kari recently wrapped up a four-month, round-the-world trip via UVA’s Semester at Sea program. She will be stopping by here periodically throughout the next few months to regale you with tales from her ports. This account follows Part I, which you can read here.
Our second day in Ghana is a little bit of a touchy subject. Richard and I had signed up through SAS to visit a school and play with kids and were quite disappointed with our trip. We boarded the bus and drove the hour trip to Morning Star only to find that all of the kids were out of school on holiday except the ninth graders who were taking exams all day. After spending half an hour touring the facilities, Richard and I signed out and headed back to base camp to pack up for an adventure.
We left the ship in the early afternoon and headed a couple hours out to a backpackers village on the beach in Kokrabite. It was quite the experience. Not only did we run into people from all over the world, but we also got to share some drinks with other SASers staying out there that we had never before met. We stayed out for a good while before finally retreating to our little hippie hut that we stayed in that night. The hut was one tiny room with two single beds underneath a mosquito net. There were no sheets because it was hot as the dickens, and there was simply no need.
Our bathroom was located in the outdoors but privately enclosed next to our hut, however while using the toilet and showering with the bucket of water they gave us you could look up and see the stars above; that part was quite nice. The sleeping part, however, was rough. It was close to impossible to get any sleep in this 100 degree sauna of a room, so we finally gave up and got up to watch the sunrise on the beach before journeying back toward Accra.
Once back in Accra, we were exhausted but weren’t ready to go back to the boat for the night, so I decided I was going to go all Rasta-Kari. One of our buddies, Chris, took me over to a hair salon and then he and Richard left me there (how rude!) for a couple hours to get my hair braided.
I had been wanting to do that for a while but wasn’t expecting the reactions that I got following the new ‘do. First of all, Richard about threw up when he walked in and my hair was no longer the long blonde curly hair he had seen when he left, but every guy in Ghana was proposing to me left and right! I told Richard he had some hefty competition.
(Note: They added a brown weave to my locks; I didn’t also turn brunette in the process…never!)
I also must mention that I spent those two hours watching Mean Girls with my six new best friends who were all very beautiful Ghanian women and expert braiders! Following the hair braiding, we were just too exhausted to go on and retreated back to the boat because we had a big day of fishing coming up.
Our final day in Ghana was my very favorite day out of my entire SAS experience, and I believe Richard would say the same. We woke up early and headed back out to Jamestown where we met up with Vis and were introduced to the guys that would be taking us out on the ocean for the day.
They immediately decided that they liked us and gave us true Jamestown names; they were pronounced I-eat-eh (Richard) and I-heal-eh (Kari). From then on we introduced ourselves with those names and we were welcomed with open arms.
We walked down to the ocean with our new fishing buddies and Richard helped get the fishing boat, which are rickety canoes carved out of wood by the Jamestown men themselves, out into the water.
Once out in the water our new friends took us around to all of their friends to show us the different ways of fishing, and we also got to give some of them water that had been out there fishing with huge nets for weeks on end without coming back to the shore.
Eventually they took us so far out that we couldn’t see land or anyone at that, and we let out our own fishing net that was about half a mile long. They were teaching us how they fish for tuna, which they normally do at night when they sit out on the water for hours, but because we could only go during the day and for only a few hours they told us not to expect to catch much. After sitting put for a few hours, we (meaning Richard) pulled the net in and lo and behold we caught three fish! Whoop-tee-doo!
Apparently when you catch your first fish it is tradition to filet it on the spot and eat it raw, so I told Richard since he did all of the hard work he could have the honor of eating the raw fish. (He thanked me.)
After Richard swallowed the fish and gagged only a few times, we headed back to the shore where we helped them pull the boat in and played with some of the local kids for a while before finally ending our wonderful trip in Ghana by heading back to the Semester at Sea ship for our trans-atlantic journey to Brazil.