Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vlota Eco-Adventure Part 2

Following a day of hiking and waterfalls we went to Tafi Atome, a village that has created a tourist attraction and thus economic support for itself thanks to the monkeys that live there. Before we went on our monkey hike we walked to a school just across a small field where with the help of Sam our amazing guide we sang our Ewe song for the students and after the first time through the song the students joined us. Not so surprisingly this was one of the greatest moments of the tip for me and even writing about it gives me goose bumps.

We went on our way allowing the students to get back to class. With just a short walk into the forest monkeys came right to us and took bananas out of our hands. If we held on tight enough the monkey would just peal the banana and take a chunk of it before climbing back up in the tree and enjoying the snack. It was a lot of fun and the students got some great pictures.

Walking out of the forest we went through the village where we saw two men making kente cloth. It was interesting to watch and the long strings come together to make beautiful patterns. Back where we started we once again came to the school allowing for great interactions with the young people of the community. We learned that school age girls all must shave their head and keep their hair short, a way to level the economic playing field in the school via hair care methods. Additionally the students wore uniforms. With that it was back on the bus to begin the journey back to the ship. We stopped for a nice lunch and made it home problem free.

That evening I went into town with Shira, one of the psychologists on the ship. We had a great time walking around town looking at the shops, having a drink and dinner. While having drinks a man in a wheel chair approached us trying to sell jewelry. We spoke for some time and told him about the ship and that he should go to our shuttle point where students were being dropped off every hour. I saw him the next day and he remembered me and thanked me for the suggestion saying that he sold a lot of items to the students.

Accra is not a normal cruise ship destination but SAS is not a normal cruise ship. I heard that the arrival of our ship brought the largest number of white people that Accra had ever seen at any one time . While I don’t know the validity of that nugget of information it is interesting to consider.

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