Lessons from Liate Wote (Afadjato)

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So I took a trip to Jasikan to get away from the busy life in Accra and usually one track weekends that Accra has to offer. Ghana is so blessed with weekend destinations that it’s quite a pity that the citizens do not take an interest. I remember one time my Californian Study Abroad students coming to me and asking that we go hiking in the Volta Region. I am a Tour Consultant but I just laughed it off. This is the business I am in and I laughed it off. I wonder what a lay man or lay person will say to a suggestion like that.

So woke up early in the morning to catch a mini bus to Hohoe from where we will take a chartered taxi to Jasikan to see our host. It was really an interesting journey with the different permutation of passengers also going to that part of Ghana for different reasons.

One part of the trip that we found interesting was some of the names of some of the various towns and villages that dotted the road to Jasikan. Some of the names sounded weird, some were sing song whilst others were just plain profane when translated to other languages. One thing that was evident though was the extent of diversity that exists in this land of our birth Ghana. We are so diverse yet so joined together at the hip and we do not even realize it because we do not make any efforts to learn about each other.

This brings to mind our educational system and makes me wonder what happened to the social studies (studies about other towns and cultures within Ghana) that we used to study back in preparatory school? I would like to see what the curriculum for that particular course is like nowadays and compare it to what existed. What I ask myself is that who is to blame when even Ministers sit in their offices in Accra and make decisions for parts of the country they know nothing about. Do we even know the dynamics of a particular region? What are the ethnic groups and how do they relate to each other?

A case in point is some time ago when based on stories of fighting in suburbs of Tamale, the Ghanaian Interior Minister instituted a curfew on the citizens for 12 midnight to 4am.  Interestingly, the average Joe such as Musa, my favorite sandal seller in Tamale, did not even know about the curfew and when I told him about it he just laughed it off because usually by 12midnight the whole of Tamale had gone to bed. All shops and even ‘spots’ were mostly closed after 10pm and it’s only around 5am that u will find market women and farmers taking their wares to the market to sell. So what then is the essence of such a curfew and who does it affect if it’s not only administrative.

Another thing of note is the way tourism is treated in Ghana. Ghana’s tourist destinations, albeit being available and sometimes given space on tourist magazines and brochures, are nothing to write home about. The infrastructure available around these tourist destinations is shameful. I wonder what the Ghana Tourist Board does about that.

On the visit to Jasikan we took a tour of the highest point in Ghana, Mount Afadjato. It was a grueling task up the sometimes steep mountain side to the top of the mountain which gives a view of all the surrounding mountain ranges and the nearby township. Although the sun was high up in the sky at the time the feat was undertaken (about 32 degrees in the shade) the air en route to the top of the mountain and on top of the mountain is the cleanest and freshest I have ever breathed. For someone with allergies, I could breath freely even through my shallow breaths of tiredness.

Climbing the mountain had lots of lessons that can apply to real life. Sometimes it is so difficult and steep that we felt like giving up but with perseverance and persistence one can reach the top. Furthermore, another important lesson learnt is that as an individual, one has all the ability and capability to make it to the top but you are the only individual who can talk yourself down and not reach the top. Focus is very important to undertake a mountainous task.

After the climb there was another rewarding hike to the Tagbo waterfalls another 40mins away where we actually took a relaxing swim in the God ordained fresh waters of the Tagbo falls. It is true that we ignored all the signs of not swimming in the water but then who are we to resist the beauty of the waterfall enclave and the coolness of the water especially after the hike up the mountain top and further to the waterfall. Ghana is really blessed with beautiful natural sights we can make money off but what happens is rather the reverse.

The drive back to Jasikan is another story altogether. By the time we were driving back, we were so tired we ended up asleep only to wake up with blond hair for dust dyes. The dusty roads had painted our hair blond and it is interesting to know that although the road is seemingly tarred, driving on the dirt part of the road is more comfortable than driving on the coal tar. This is because the potholes on the coal tar are as big as craters and provide for a very bumpy uncomfortable ride. Make us wonder how pregnant women are driven on the road to the main town because the road can cause a woman to deliver prematurely in this case.

Another interesting observation is that taxi drivers in the town are reluctant to embark on some journeys especially for folk who are out of town because they want to wrangle more money out of tourists for the same routes that they ply every day of the week. This is not too uncommon in Ghana. This greedy attitude does not encourage visitors, even Ghanaians, to go on tours when they visit places in Ghana with tourist sites.

Food and land abound in Jasikan. Seeing land lie fallow all over the place reminded me of the proposed British Lands Bill that didn’t get passed because the Aborigine’s Right Protection Society led by the Gold Coast elites and ably supported by the chiefs sent a successful petition to London to fight the bill that sought for government to take over all lands not in use. These lands belong to people and the fact that they are fallow makes me wonder what use they can be put. Places in Ghana are losing their youth to the urban areas in search of greener pastures. If programs were put in place, these vast lands could be put to profitable use especially in agriculture.

Upon chancing upon some women coming directly from the farm carrying bunches of plantain, we asked how much they were going to sell it. A bunch of fully grown ‘apem’ was GHc 1.50 to which we all screamed ‘WHAAAAT!’ in unison thinking we had heard wrong. Then the woman further goes like ‘oh if it’s too expensive I can reduce it’. That was the final straw. We spent the rest of the day discussing how come food in the city was so expensive when in the town areas it was relatively so cheap. Even though we bought a bunch, all of us in the group were feeling too ‘cityish’ to carry it to Accra so we left it with our host. Who was going to carry a bunch of plantain to the city so they be called a ‘villager’.

There are places in Ghana that are interesting hideouts especially for people who want to relax in a change of environment.  We don’t need to pay all that ticket money and go through the hustle of getting visas to go out of the country ironically just to rest from the struggle of getting a visa to go away from the busy hectic life in Accra. Places like Jasikan are dotted all over Ghana and have all the facilities for relaxation. The weekend away in Jasikan was not only relaxing but an eye opener that Accra as a city is overrated. Life exists elsewhere in Ghana and it is less stressful.

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6 Responses to “Lessons from Liate Wote (Afadjato)”

  1. WOAW!!! sorry I mean this is so interesting.

  2. Loved reading this. You brought a freshness to my morning as I walked with you. Chaley, I would have brought the plantain back with me, Sharp! Thanks for this! I look forward to reading more and more from you! Keep it coming!

  3. Salomey Abraham Says:

    wooooowwwwww. the same thought pass thru ma mind all the time when i see unused land. yet we have an unemployed graduates association. its only God who can give us the said wisdom and i hope it applied. Thanks Kola.

    • Thanks Salomey. When Ayariga said it @the presidential debate we took the goof part and forgot the salient reasoning of what he was saying and laughed it off. I saw it as a profound case and reflective on the state of our nation Ghana.

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