Grace and I took a little vacation down to the coast to visit another volunteer and to catch up on some much needed R&R. Although a little difficult to get to, it was well worth the trip. After being so far away from water for so long, I remembered how much I actually love it. Taylor’s site is literally located right on the beach…as in, the town is made up entirely of sand and you fall asleep to the sound of the ocean. As much as I love the Upper West, I could really get used to that.
Upon arriving, I learned that the site was previously built up by the British who settled there initially, so all of the original buildings are beautifully made stone structures. Between this and the elegantly carved fishing boats littering the shoreline, I had a hard time pulling myself away at the end of the day. I was only able to do so because I knew I had to get some rest for what was coming the next day…a trip to Nzulezu, the stilt village.
We woke early and walked two villages down to the information center. From there, the guide led us to the boat that would be taking us through the wetlands to the stilt village. To be honest, I was a little nervous, because half of the boats were half under water and the one we were in had a plastic bucket to be used to fish out water. There was a bit of splashing and tipping, and we did begin to take on some water, but we made it there alright. Let me tell you, it was very strange to see a village existing entirely on the water.
There was a school and a church and spots, just like in a regular village, and the people weren’t even remotely phased by us. I imagine they see more white people than any other place in Ghana, due to tourism. Seeing the village on the water from afar was stunning, and the construction of the dock, walkway, and buildings was quite impressive. From a health, water, and sanitation point of view, however, it was quite dismal. The people there have no way to dispose of trash, so they simply throw it into the water. Their only latrines drop the waste directly into the water, and there is no way to dig a borehole or a well obviously, so this water also serves for drinking and cooking purposes. No clinic exists, so anyone who does get sick from drinking the water has to paddle 45 minutes just to get to land. It is sad to think that, although the community gets a significant amount of money from tourism, it may not be going towards what the people there really need.
Otherwise, it couldn’t have been better. I find that I never feel more relaxed or sleep deeper than after a day at the beach, even in Ghana.