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

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

Waltzing around Walewale

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This past weekend we headed up to Walewale (“Wally Wally”) to attend a VSO Northern Region volunteers meeting.  This occurs two or three times a year, and it is a good chance to catch up with other volunteers who we do not see on a regular basis.

on our way, safely ensconced at the back....

The tro ride up was uneventful….  But we noticed some strange “haze” just outside Tamale, that continued for the next few hours to Walewale.  We later found out that it was not just “bush burning smoke”, as we have come to expect during the dry season – but it was literally dust hovering in the air.  You can see from the photo how little visibility there was.  But not much wind!  Very strange (and close to a week later, the dust still hangs in the air)…..

The heat during this time of year is relentless.  So one small blessing with the dust was that it kept the temperature in the 30’s at least, which was preferable to the 40’s.  Having said THAT, the couple we were visiting (Mike and Charlotte) had a thermometer, with which they had hoped (a few weeks ago) to get an accurate reading of how stinking hot it actually was!   Unfortunately, they are no wiser, as the thermometer scale stopped at 50 degrees centigrade…   : \

you can see how limited the visibility is due to the dust

However, they did confirm that it was hot enough that even the scorpions and snakes were trying to move indoors as it is too hot under rocks for them.  They have had to return a few scorpions and discourage a few snakes from entering….

Northern Region VSO volunteers

The meeting was uneventful;  the photos show the astounding number of dust particles in the air.  At first, we all thought our camera lenses were dirty – but alas – it was in the air…..

After everyone else left, Mark and I stayed on to enjoy the convivial company of Mike and Charlotte on the Saturday night.  This is the extent of our social life, so it was a big deal.  Charlotte brought out a lively alternative to Scrabble… a game called “Boggle” which we quite enjoyed (there’s that Royal We again… in this case, I mean Mar…  she kicked Mark’s butt….though not Charlottes!)….

Enjoying a lovely meal together apres' meeting...

Late Sunday morning we walked towards town, with the expectation of waiting while a tro filled (slowly) with passengers until we were eventually ready to leave (can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours).  Funny how your situation always seems “normal” to you, once you’ve been in it a while!  For us, what was “normal” was walking along a dirt road, passing women with a myriad of goods on their heads, usually in large bowls, and greeting people as we passed by.  Many folks were also in their “Sunday best”, as the numerous regular church goers were heading off for their services.  We could hear the sounds of Christian music (augmented by African drums) and Muslim prayers intermingling as we wandered near goats grazing, and the odd donkey cart making its way to town (affectionately known as the “Walewale taxi”).

Surprisingly, we picked up a tro that was “passing through” town, so no waiting was required!  Enroute the driver did stop to pick up some Fulani women, which was a treat for us all!  We stared wide eyed at them, as they did to us!  The Fulani are a nomadic herding people whose area extends from Northern Ghana into Burkina Faso, and as far north as Mali and even Niger.  The women looked markedly different to local Ghanaian women;  they had facial tattoos  and dreadlocked side “pony tails” that were adorned with beads.

We made good time back to Tamale, and got dropped off a mere 100 metres or so from our house!  All in well under two hours.  Total cost for one-way journey:  2 cedis 50 peshwa each (about $2 Aussie dollars).

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Written by Mar(k)

March 26, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Posted in Life in Ghana

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