Surviving the Sun in Accra

My Adventures Living & Working Abroad in Ghana

4 Dollar Safari

I can’t believe that this Sunday will mark the end of four weeks here in Ghana (almost 1/3 of the way done). While my overall experience in Ghana has been amazing, this week marked the greatest highs and lows for me thus far. I always think that it’s better to begin with the good stuff, so here are my highlights of the week:


Last Saturday morning we woke up early and headed to the STC bus station to catch a bus to Temale (located in the far North-West of Ghana). It truly was a weird drive for me because it took exactly 12 hours… which is the exact same amount of time I should have been spending back in Canada as I would have driven to Portage that very day. On this trip however, the scenery was… different from Saskatchewan… which was a nice change (sorry Carly!).


Overall, we spent most of the short time we had in the north driving (roughly 33 hours), but it was definitely worth the voyage. The landscape up North is beautiful and lush with a fair amount of foliage considering the proximity to the Sahara Desert. Many of the villages still use traditional architectural styles building round family huts with mud walls and thatched roofs.


Our major reason for heading so far north was to experience a safari at Mole National Park (pronounced Mo-lay). We arrived at the park on Sunday evening and spent the night eating and visiting with a group of University of Michigan students who were kind enough to let us tag along on their trip. We woke early the next day and spent the morning checking out the wildlife that Ghana had to offer. Mole is quite a bit smaller than many of the typical ‘safari’ parks such as the ones found in Kenya, Tanzania & South Africa, so the diversity of wildlife wasn’t as extensive (but we also only paid $4 for our safari opposed to the hundreds it would cost in Kenya etc).


Unfortunately we didn’t see any of the big cats, but we did see a herd of Savannah elephants really close up which was AMAZING. They are sooo much larger than forest elephants (the ones you can see in the zoo). We also saw baboons, monkeys, kobe, antelope and warthogs. It rained for most of the safari, but I didn’t burn so I thought it was a perfect day haha.


On our way home from Mole, our group stopped in Larabanga, a small village just a few miles from the park entrance. After asking the village chief for permission, we were able to go see the oldest mosque in Ghana (dating back ~1421AD) and questionably one of the oldest in West Africa. It was absolutely beautiful, and the local entourage of children walked us to the ‘Mystic Stone’ and showed us around the village. There must have been at least 3 dozen children showing our group around and I was wishing I had brought gum or a few soccer balls (which I stupidly left in Accra). Visiting Larabanga was the perfect way to end the trip and I’m really glad we were able to experience the northern culture.


The low point of my time here happened after we arrived home and I went back to work on Wednesday. I have spent the last few days reviewing every newspaper article corresponding to child abuse in the past two years in Ghana… and it’s excruciatingly depressing to stare at all day. I spent the last two nights staring at the wall being dismal and wondering how many cases occur that don’t make the news. The hardest part of my research right now is the style of writing that goes into the cases… most of it would be considered vulgar by Canadian standards and defilement is one of the largest forms of abuse. In Vancouver, people are wondering about feet washing up from the ocean, while in Ghana children are being beheaded with machetes and 9 year old girls are impregnated by 60 year old men. The world has never felt so upside down to me before and experiencing some real-life cases in the complaints unit makes it all the more real. There is so much corruption, blackmail and violence here, its hard to imagine a cure to minimize these occurrences which young children are forced to face everyday.


Thankfully, this was a short work week (wed-fri) and I am readily anticipating the relief of a relaxing weekend before another long week of research starting again on Monday. Thanks again for reading and following my experiences here in Ghana.




  Amanda wrote @

Yeah safari. Ginourmous elephants sound pretty cool. The child abuse research doesn’t sound fun at all. Reminds of some of my work with rape victims at the legal aid clinic. Hope you don’t have to work on that project too much longer. If you do, at least you know that you work is important since it is clear from your description that this is an area that needs to be addressed within Ghanaian society.

  Grandma wrote @

You are having amazing experiences, Kelsey. Thanks for sharing them so well with us. Luv u lots and lots. Grandma

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