Friday, July 19, 2013

'Awoe' (* ah-way*) - 'The Bats'

It was around that time of the year when the coconut fruits begun to dry on the tall gnarled coconut trees, that we made our yearly trip to my father's village. It was 1962, I was about seven, still clueless about what Ghana's independence meant, but nonetheless excited to be on holidays with my two older rambunctious brothers whom I adored and looked to for acceptance in their games and adventures.

The journey was always the same, my mother packed enough food to last our week stay into the car, my father drove, and my brother's and I goofed in the back seat - pressing our noses against the window and making faces  at the passing scenery, playing 'I spy' and of course dozing off when we got tired. I remember my mother waking us up to have a quick lunch, perhaps halfway to the village before continuing on our journey. I remember the ride in the Aunty Dede ferry at Tefle which slightly made my tummy pitch throughout the thirty minutes ride.

Denu was always a welcome breath of fresh air. To any seven year old; the freedom to run about barefoot in the sea sand without any qualms about having to do home work for the next day of school was utterly heavenly!

However before we settled in we always had to deal with our unwanted house guests, a generation of cave bats who had taken over our village house  for as far back as i could remember in all my seven years.

This year round, my father decided to put a complete stop to their tenancy by sealing the entrance through which they flew in to nest. He said he had had it with the bats and their mess and the creepy screeching noises  they made throughout the day.

A local handy man who was noted for his prowess at catching house rodents was summoned and tasked with proposing a permanent solution to sacking the bats from the roof before the opening was sealed.

I remember how the corners of his eyes crinkled with delight as he gave my father a toothless grin, rubbed his knobbly hands together and named his price for his services. The amount must have been pretty ridiculous because my mother exclaimed loudly. Him and my father haggled some, a fair price was agreed upon and the handy man agreed to arrive at the house within an hour with his potions for the task.

He arrived on time I suppose, for I didn't have a watch, but the sun had not yet gone down when he came back. He mixed a few things from a cacophony of bottles and containers, threw in a few blocks of charcoal and fanned the mixture until it formed a murky mess with a rather revolting smell.

 I tried to go closer to have a look, but my father yelled at me in his usual gruff manner, and rebuffed I retreated to the shade of the guava trees under which my brothers were playing a noisy game of alikoto.

I knelt quietly in the sand for a few minutes next to them until they let me join in the game, so I don't quite remember what happened next, but suddenly, there was a loud screech and the bats hurled themselves into the skies above , angry at being rudely woken up before they were ready.

We watched in awe as they scattered into the sky. Then we chased  after them and jumped at the ones who came close to us, tempting us with false hope of being caught, as they swooped down and shied away from us like a dark blanket  against the molten red sky, as the sun made its descent in the horizon to the west.

Narrative by : Rosaline Gbeho
Words: Aku Duse

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Weekend Paradise

I had the most fantastic weekend! I'm still reliving it a little bit every morning when I wake up and look at the pictures where myself and a bunch of my girls were looking fit and fabulous whilst basking in the warm sunshine during our over night stay in Ada.

With every fun weekend, it started as usual with a series of relatively unfortunate events. I almost missed my hair appointment on Friday afternoon because of a quick stop I decided to make at the bank, I delayed picking my friend up from our meeting point, my friends and I partied too hard until the wee hours of the morning, making me temporarily ill from inhaling too much second hand smoke.To crown it all, I ended up phoning a complete stranger and asking them to be part of our weekend party, thinking he was actually one of my old friends.

All being said, plus that magnificent thing called Providence, I found myself - fabulous hat and all in a convoy with my girls, speeding at 120 mph along the road leading to the Volta Region with our designated driver/chilling paddie/ spanking new male friend who had literally saved the day with his spontaneity.

We arrived at Ada, Soli Kope within about seventy minutes, and took another thirty or so minutes to drive down to Peace Holiday Resort, our quaint but exquisite river side resort (
The view from the pier leading onto the river was insanely beautiful and therapeutic for our smoke clogged city lungs, and after squealing and prancing around in excitement like a bunch of school girls, we fished out our camera phones and tried to capture as many photos of the scenery as we could in the slow fading light, where the sunset had set up our shadows to our sides like long legged scarecrows.

We took a drive to Tsarley (charley) Kope, were we met up and had lunch with the rest of our party and booked an evening boat trip to the beach to attend a famous bonfire my new friend had told us about; but not before we dashed back to have a quick dip in the pool, have a few more drinks and freshen up in our cozy and tastefully furnished suite at the Peace Holiday Resort whilst waiting to be picked up.

The evening boat ride to the beach bonfire was in a relatively luxurious boat which I dubbed 'The River Cruiser', which picked us up around 9pm, and set off for the beach whose white shores we could see in the distance from the pier at the resort. It was an amazing boat ride! The boat did not have any lights and although the water was dark,  navigation was made easy by the huge bright stars which seemed close enough to touch if you squeezed one eye shut and reached out with the tip of one of your fingers.

 At the bonfire we loaded up on drinks and snacks and told silly stories whilst the fire crackled and spat angrily in the sand. You could hear the waves smashing against the shore in the near distance, so upon a dare I challenged one of my girls to come with me so we could investigate what was beyond the sand dune behind the make-shift chalets. The sight and sound of the waves and the height of the sand dune brought us so close to the stars, we just shouted for joy at how amazingly awesome our Heavenly Father was.

We returned to our suite shortly before midnight, went to bed and woke up to a breakfast of eggs, sausages,toast, vegetables and cake, served with pipping hot tea and coffee after which we lounged lazily in the living room area, chatting idly and recounting the previous day's events and lamenting on how we should have booked a two night stay instead of one.

Any-who, by noon we packed up our belongings, dropped them off in our respective cars and headed towards the pier for one last ride on the river at the invitation of my spanking new friend. Once again aboard ' The River Cruiser' we went around a number of the islands and even went as close to the estuary, where the river met the sea in lurid but exciting game of tug of war. Despite being slightly disheveled by an on and off shower of rain during the ride, my companions and I really wished we could do the boat ride over again, but sadly time was fast spent and we needed to make our way back home....well not before we went to a barbecue first (giggles).

Ada was absolutely fantastic, from the lovely resort, to the scenery, the food and most of all the company; I  know for certain that i and my friends (both old and new) can't wait to revisit these new found delights again.