Mar(k): Travel, Hiking, and "Doing Good"

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

A tour around Tamale….

with 2 comments

We thought we’d write a few words trying to describe our town; the town of Tamale.  Tamale is located in the central part of Northern Ghana, and is the largest regional city “in the north”.

Although it has a population of between 300 – 400,000 people, it feels surprisingly smaller than that.  We think this is partly attributed to the fact that the city centre is comparatively small and compact, there are no tall buildings (most buildings are single story, but there is the odd 2 or 3 story building, maximum), and there is an abundance of livestock that freely roam around the town.  Where we work, there are chickens, goats and sheep that graze in any available space nearby.

Shoe seller who keeps costs down by eliminating unecessary items like shoe racks!

Compared to the other regional towns in the north, Tamale does seem to be quite frenetic, but of course, compared to Ghana’s capital city (Accra), it is just another sleepy town.

Culturally, we haven’t discovered a lot in town.  We had hoped there would be a more vibrant live music, drumming or dancing scene, but alas; if it is here, we have yet to find it!

We are fortunate that we live on the “Bolga” road, about 10 km from the town centre, and our office is also located on this road, about half way to town.  So we commute to work on our bicycles, which takes about 15 minutes.  Tamale is a reasonably “bike friendly” city, and there is a separate bike lane on this road.  However, this sounds far safer than it actually is!  Bicycles, livestock, pedestrians, motorcycles, taxis and buses also occasionally (and randomly, without warning) use the “bike lane”, so one must maintain constant vigilance!  Oncoming traffic in the bike lane is also a regular occurrence (yep, on the wrong side of the road!), so it is never what one could call a leisurely cycle to or from work!

The northern part of Ghana is predominantly Muslim, and Tamale is probably at least 70% Muslim.  The call to prayer from the abundance of mosques is heard at regular intervals, and men praying in small groups is a typical sight.

A common sight is for streets sellers to transport their wares on their heads...

Although the main market is in the centre of town, one can find all sorts of wares being sold on the roadsides, and carried by (mainly) women in large bowls perched precariously on their head.  This now seems quite “normal” to us, and we regularly investigate what the women are carrying, as it is often something we are looking to buy!  (ie: bananas, tomatoes, or other fruit / veg).  Often these bowled ladies provide a better “price” for goods;  perhaps because their load is lightening, and hence they are appreciative of the sale!

When buying foodstuffs in the market, it is common (particularly if you are a regular customer), for the vendor to ‘dash you some’, meaning that if you are buying, say 6 tomatoes, they will throw an extra one in, to keep your good

Football Fanatics formed an impromptu party celebrating Ghana's silver medal at the recent Africa Cup!

custom!  So it is an incentive to buy regularly from the same sellers.

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Written by Mar(k)

March 2, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Posted in Life in Ghana

2 Responses

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  1. You have a lot of choices in shoes I see.

    Tom

    March 3, 2010 at 9:40 am

  2. You should be able to recite in Arabic, the Muslims call to prayer soon. I can, at least the first few versus.

    Tom

    March 6, 2010 at 8:49 pm


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