Ropes, Alligators, and Markets Oh My!

Over the past few days we have been traveling around different parts of Ghana. We visited Kakum National Park’s canopy park when we were in Cape Coast. The walk across the narrow plywood held up by ropes would have scared me if I were afraid of heights. Lucky for me, I’m not. I’m quite the opposite. I love heights as long as there is something for me to hold on to. The rain clouds were hovering over us, so our guide and the rest of my group tried to rush through the ropes so much so that I could not stop and take in the view for very long. It was beautiful though. The lush forests below were filled with animals and unending trees. I wish I could have stayed for longer.

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Kakum Canopy Walk
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Feeding the Alligator

After the canopy walk, Winnie organized a trip to feed alligators. We walked over to the swamp that was surrounded by mosquitos with our guide. In one hand he held a bowl of chicken and in the other a stick. It reminded me of when I went fishing for piranhas in Peru. He would beat the water with the stick to get the alligator’s attention. Then, he would place a piece of chicken on the end of the stick and continue to taunt the alligator. We all got a chance to try! It was fun to see the alligators jump up into the air to bite the chicken off of the stick. They were about 6 feet long! In the water, they look much smaller than that. I would have imagined that the ropes and the alligators would have thrilled me the most, but the market did the trick.

The Kumasi market is the largest outdoor market in all of West Africa. We were not allowed to go anywhere without our guide who knew the ins and outs of the maze. At first, I was frustrated that we could not go on our own, but after entering I realized I would not have made it out without help! I felt like a toddler following the leader across the street. You could buy everything you could ever need at this market: clothes, shoes, accessories, food, furniture, etc. Each vender took up most of the walkways leaving only enough room for one or two people to pass by at once. And people moved quickly! Women and girls with large baskets or boxes filled with goods would scurry by us yelling, “Ago! Ago!” to let us know we were in their way. I have never been more overwhelmed in my life, but it was a good feeling. As long as I could see the person I was to follow, I was fine. We went to the market twice. The first day, I wore long pants, but the second time I wore shorts. When I was wearing shorts, the older women were not as friendly towards me, yelling at me and tugging at my shorts. Dr. Kwami also informed me that she noticed people questioning the insulin pump that I had on my arm! Overall, it was incredible experience, but one that was more enjoyable in pants. Many people asked me where I was from and told me I was welcome in Ghana. I felt the love of Ghanaians that everyone talks about. I had to get used to people tugging at my arms and touching my white skin, but I had a great time walking through the busy paths filled with the stench of dried fish. The Kumasi market is an experience that I will never forget.

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Kumasi Market
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