The Village On Stilts

This weekend my friends, Chelsea C., Annie and Chelsea S and I went to one of the top known beach resorts in Ghana, The Green Turtle Lodge and the Village on Stilts. This weekend was definitely a thrilling time and it started early Friday morning as we all left to begin our travels at 5:30 a.m. The four of us met up at the tro tro station to get a taxi off to Circle Station where we caught a trotro to Takoradi and from their several trotro to the lodge. Well with lack of sleep and forgetfulness that comes Friday Mornings, I ended up leaving my phone on the taxi. It wasn't until on the trotro to Takoradi that I realized I had left it on the taxi, which ended up being a weekend almost entirely without technology ( which in my opinion was really nice).

Friday afternoon we arrived at the Green Turtle Lodge and got four beds in a dorm style room for only 10 cedi a night. Immediately we put on our swim suites and went straight to the beach to work on the tan and swim in the beautiful warm Atlantic ocean.  After a nice beach nap I went on a walk down the beach where sand crabs were crawling all around and the scenery looked like it would be one of the desktop backgrounds that comes on all computers as "paradise".

That night we had dinner on the beach and played Apples to Apples and bananagrams ( two really fun games) by candle light and all the best Ghanaian songs. That morning I woke up earlier than the rest of the group and went on a morning walk down the beach. Walking down this long stretch of beach reminded me of my times in Santa Barbara and made me miss home a lot. I strolled back to the resort and once all the girls we got up, we ordered breakfast, which was of the main things I was excited for because of the No Nescafe Policy they had posted on the website. [Nescafe- Cheap Instant Coffee which also happens to be the only kind you can get here]. I ordered eggs, toast and a cup of coffee, which ended up being french pressed, I was so excited and as expected it led to a little caffeine overload.  After breakfast we laid out on the beach, went swimming and then at about noon Chelsea Coates and I decided that we still really wanted to see the village on stilts, so we split off from Annie and Chelsea who still needed some beach love. 

Our trip now took us deeper in the Western Region in the small town Beyin, which was the main connector to get to the village on stilts which takes an hour canoe ride to get here. Before we left the Green Turtle Lodge, Chelsea called the number of the place to stay at the stilt Village which was in her tour guide. The man we spoke to on multiple occasions confirmed that he had room for us and would be expecting our arrival and the canoe ride out to the village around five p.m Saturday evening. We then journeyed on to Beyin where at one point we crammed into a taxi fitting a total of eleven people! We arrived to Beyin at around five p.m to find that the Wildlife Division Office was closed ( which is where we were supposed to get tickets for the canoe trip and to visit the village). The man we called earlier seemed very confused when we told him we were here and that he did not see us anywhere. Out of frustration and exhaustion we handed the phone over to our new friend Francis who we meant on the taxi ride to Beyin. After several laughs on the phone, Francis hung up and told us that the man was located in the Greater Accra region which was 4 hours away.  By this time it was five p.m and the sun was already setting and we needed to find a place to stay and figure our the earliest time we could make it out to the village Sunday morning.

Francis led us towards town where everyone was busy celebrating a local festival, we ended up meeting some of the tour guides at a local bar who helped us figure our our accomodation. We had a 50 cedi option and a 15 cedi options for where we could stay, of course we opted for the cheaper version which was a room on stilts directly on the beach. We also arranged for a tour at five a.m sharp which would give us enough time to make it back to Accra without getting stuck in too much traffic.  After dropping our stuff of at the room and repeatedly telling the owner of the room to come and get us at 4:45 a.m we wandered through town looking for a place to eat. 

We ended up at this really fresh restaurant which was owned by a Spaniard, his son and wife. It was very unreal, we were in this semi rural town with this gorgeous restaurant that had a delicious menu and a flat screen that was playing US college football. Chelsea and I ordered a cheeseburger and fries for only six cedis. It ended up  being one of the best meals we have had thus far. At about ten p.m we decided to venture back to our room which was a very scary trek down a hill towards the beach, by ourselves with a lantern and the light of Chelsea's cell phone. 

We made it to the room, unlocked the door ( a padlock and key to be specific) and quickly shut the door behind us as the nerves between the both of kept on intensifying.  We realized that the inside did not have a lock, so we moved an empty bed up against the door and prayed that nothing bad would happen. Looking back it seems kind of silly that we were so scared, but at the time we were afraid of someone trying to get in to our room while we were asleep, which could have been easy since where we were was semi-isolated, very dark and all you could really hear were the waves pounding down the beach. It took us a couple hours to calm ourselves down and try and go to bed. Just as I was almost asleep, I jolted awake to a man's voice saying "Hello, Are you asleep?" and the Chelsea and I thought our worse nightmares came true. He then proceeded to tell us that he was our guide in the morning and that he was looking for us earlier to let us know that he would be staying next door to "guard" us. As much as I wanted to believe him, I still had my doubts and went on to grill him on questions for about 45 mins before we all went to bed.  In the process we learned that his name was Thomas and he was a rasta man who was just lighting up before going to bed, and that he was a fellow child of God. The more we talked, the safer I felt but not enough to let me fully rest. Chelsea and I barely slept that night and at 4:45 the owner, Stephen, knocked on our door and as we emerged we finally meant our next door rasta man, Thomas, who ended up being one of the kindest man I have met here in Ghana. 

Thomas took us to the beginning of the canal that led to the village on stilts. When we first began our canoe trip it was completely dark outside, the stars and fire flies were dancing around and we laughed with Thomas about how scared we were of him the night before. The sun slowly began to rise, the birds were all flying around and this had the best canoe ride I have ever been. The ride took us across a huge wetland and through two parts of the jungle, it truthfully seems like what disney land based the "Jungle Cruise" ride, off of.  About thirty minutes into the hour long ride, Thomas told us to close our eyes and to not open them until he got to five.  At five we opened our eyes to this endless lake that stretched all across the land and a sunrise that blared an orange red glow all across the water. In the distance was the village on stilts and up ahead were woman passing us by in their canoe heading to town to work. 

The  view was incredible and we made it to the village which Thomas gave us a tour of.  Most of the people here were already awake, making the meals for the day and kids running about, with even chickens and goats making there way around. The entire village is suspended above the water and has only a few spots that links the village to the jungle not to far away.  It was beautiful, we spent about an hour at the village where we hung out with the local children. After that we headed back to the town Beyin in the canoe and then back home to Accra. 

This weekend trip was beautiful and certainly a thrilling adventure. Once I got back to Accra I had a bunch of laundry to catch up on and midterms! Sorry for delaying this post I have been quite busy as I am entering my last week of instruction!