Ghana Travel Stories, Page 12

Ghana Scarification

Ghana Scarification
Bolgatanga or Bolga, Ghana West Africa
Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I found this Crafts Village two days ago, where they sell hand made decorative type designs, more or less tourist stuff. As I entered the entrance to the Crafts Village, I see this woman.



If I would have been thinking, I would have change the camera from photos to video and this woman would have allowed me to video this Ghana great body art.

I would guess about 70 percent of the people in this village have a cut or slash here or there on their faces. This person face was covered, I asked her where she was from, and the boy answered for her, as she does not speak English, then saying Ghana.

Scarification is normally an Ethnic or Tribal type of marker, to say, I am from this groups of people, I am from this village. In some countries like Guatemala, the colors and type of clothing are the identifiers.

Scarification is an identifier of an Ethnic group, that probably has a city of village that is the central or more or less the capital of the Ethnic groups, ergo the reason for my questions,
- Where are you from? -

The woman was more culturally significant and authentic than the made to sell Crafts Village, made-for-tourist situation. Funny how this works, what is authentic culture is normally diminutive and what is not is exaggerated.

Ghana Scarification

I think if they use it, than authentic culture, sometimes objects were formerly used in the past, and the practice has stopped. Therefore, I walk around the village seeing how they live, not want they are making to sell. One is authentic culture.


Having Fun Making HoboHideOut.com

Having Fun Making HoboHideOut.com
Bolgatanga, Ghana West Africa
Tuesday, September 4, 2007

One wrong move here and I have a problem that affects presently 3.5 million pages, and soon up to 24 Million.

I am enjoying myself, making a webpage can be so boring, I think this is why many internet people learn Flash, so they can have a challenge. Even though it probably hurts more internet pages than it helps, they still want to use it because they have a challenge to use the code, not to help their client.

There is about 8 million cities that make a list in the world, probably another 3 million that do not make the list and I estimate about 24 Million Hotels on the planet.

What a challenge, how to collect, allow and make a site for 24 Million places to sleep?

How to find them, how to find great hotels that do nothing to help visitors to find them.

I like a challenge, something to think about in these concrete room when I am not reading a book.

Having Fun Making HoboHideOut.com


The Hotel Site I Want

The Hotel Site I Want
Bolgatanga or Bolga, Ghana West Africa
Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I have been making a page for the Auberge Mandele in Kpalime, Togo.
HoboHideOut.com is open for submissions. A Hotel owner can submit for free their Hotel and also place up to 57 photos and captions for free explaining the Hotel, Guesthouse or any type of place to sleep for travelers.

This is the site I would want if I owned a Hotel, nothing is hidden, a person will be able to publish their telephone number, internet page, any information to help a person to find the rooms. They will even be able to send the person to a Hotel booking site. The has the control over the information and can easily add, change.

The Hotel Site I Want


Bolgatanga Ghana Food Market Video

Bolgatanga Ghana Food Market Video
Bolga or Bolgatanga, Ghana West Africa
Monday, September 3, 2007



I am told this is a Kumo, I have never seen this type of Vegetable before, it taste like a Cucumber to me, the people say something about Garden Eggs. I really do not like Cucumbers, and I was spitting for an about 10 minutes, but I suspect the majority of cucumber fans would be happy.



The view of the inside, taking pictures of foods is interesting, I am not a brave person with foods. I have to look at something for days and sometimes months before I get up the courage to try. The best way to take photos is to buy the food, have them prepared the food to eat on the spot, and then take photos. This is difficult for me, as they also want me to taste the food… aagh.

I took this video of the market here in Bolgatanga, Ghana. A simple video of a Ghana food market, as I walked one direction through the market, this market is very large and diverse; this is just a small portion of the market. I walk through this market one to two times daily here in Bolga, for the curious, it has a never-ending supply.



If you received this in your email box, you probably need to click on this link to go and see the video. HoboTraveler.com Videos

Bolgatanga Ghana Food Market Video


Ghana Volunteer Option

Ghana Volunteer Option
Borgla or Bolgatanga, Ghana West Africa
Monday, September 3, 2007

Salad Making Schools

Malnutrition is one of my pet obsessions; I think an inordinate amount of time about this topic. I cannot remember exactly, however Josef Garvi of the Eden Foundation in Zinder, Niger was explaining how the world uses food. It went something like this, and do not quote this as fact, it is not. However, as I remember he says, less than 20 foods provide the staple food sources for nutritional needs of the 90 planet.
http://www.eden-foundation.org

What we eat is cultural; I like Potatoes, the Ghana people like Yams, no problem and great, food diversity.

I am making this video about Fufu, a food made of yams and plantains, something like a banana. Something comparable to eating mashed potatoes, and a staple food in the Ashanti region and many others areas.

A person ask,
- Do you know Fufu? -
I say,
- I do not know Fufu. -
- Try Fufu. -

Ok, I am a carbo-a-holic or starch-a-holic, if I allow myself to eat what I want; I would eat only French Fries with Mustard, or A1 Steak Sauce and lots of black pepper or better yet, white pepper. As my life has evolved, I have slowly went from eating French Fries with Catsup to combinations, and moved away from the stereotypical American French Fries.

However, I know eating French Fries is a great way to get fat; I must tell myself and force myself to eat Vegetables and Fruits.

Fufu is a probably considered Carbohydrates, I do not want to learn to eat another food or learn to love another food that could help me to become fat. West Africa is full of the foods that supply a lot of calories and energy, however incomplete for good nutrition.

To describe the diet of West African people, it is analogous to a person in the USA eating Mash Potatoes with Catsup every meal.

- The Banana is not native to Africa; sailors brought it here from Southeast Asia and lead to large population growth in Africa.

- Carrot, common name for a plant, native to Eurasia and northern Africa. -

- Apples - NOT native to the USA…

American as Apple Pie and the food is not a native of the USA; the seeds were brought here by boats from Europe.

The food culture of Africa is lagging behind in West Africa; there is a lack of diversity of foods. It is nice to say, easy to say, however telling me to eat spinach will not make me like spinach.

Telling a person in Ghana to eat lettuce and vegetables is nice, however to get them to like to eat a more nutritionally diverse diet requires a good cook or chef.

In a way, I think the pivotal solution to malnutrition is by changing the foods they eat, and finding more foods they like. One solution would be to have volunteers have cooking schools to promote the vegetales they do not grow or eat properly.

For example, salads, how to makes salads, the French introduced the Baguette Carbohydrate, lets-get-fat food to the Francophone countries, it would be nice if they came back introduced some great salads.

Volunteers learn to eat the local foods, and a good cultural exchange would be to bring into the diets of locals many new types or new ways to eat a variety foods and change the channel.

A good use for a Vegetarian… hehehe

Ghana Volunteer Option


African Damaged Goods

African Damaged Goods
Bolgatanga, Ghana West Africa
Sunday, September 2, 2007



This woman sits in the streets, the rains come, the world passes her by, she stops being a person, she becomes an object, she is African Damaged Goods.

This women is difficult for me, there is a small dysfunctional hook in my brain that needs to save women. I know this exist, I am fortunate; I know where the path leads.



She sits, mumbled, jumbled, wrapped in cloth, eating rice with her fingers, scraping the gourd bowl. She is nuts, crazy, over the edge, I am happy someone gave her food, I wanted to give her money, she does not ask, I do not force a person to be a beggar, they have to make the choice, I am worried. The worst of the worst, do not ask for money, they are over the edge, they need approached.

Orphans, and street children, small urchins I have not found in Africa, they grow up to be big urchins, not my worry, I do not think about children. However, I do worry about the certifiable crazies walking around naked, confused, mumbling, talking to the Gods, the stars, and I pray not to me, too dirty to touch, to much to endure.

Orphans have no parents, they will survive, this person has no mind, she has stopped being a person, she is now, African Damaged Goods. Hell, I do not know what she needs, I cannot save her. I saw her the first morning after a huge rain, lying at this junction in the road. What does it feel to be in the street, wet, raining, and not have sense to climb into a hole, or maybe she is afraid, only the street will allow her to sit, there is no safe place for her.



What does she need, a plastic bag to cover herself, a blanket, money, what does she need? I have a meter of cloth, I was going to make it into a shirt, I will give it to her, I want her to feel warm, I feel cold.

African Damaged Goods


Sanitized Version of Africa

Sanitized Version of Africa
Bolgatanga, Ghana West Africa
Sunday, September 2, 2007

What the world wants is a sanitized descriptions and explanations of Africa, as reality is a disturbing inconvenience to acknowledge.

I sometimes am tempted to say to the Volunteer Tourist,
“You want the sanitized version, or reality?”

Sanitized Version of Africa


Running the Gauntlet in Bolga

Running the Gauntlet in Bolga
Bolgatanga, Ghana or Bolga Ghana West Africa
Sunday, September 2, 2007

A person walks into a small village anywhere on the planet. There will be a few days of testing, checking, quizzing and sadly overbearing demands.

I hope I have finished the run, I hope I have found the majority of bullies and jerks in this small city. I now know four of them, and am thinking of taking a photo of one special person to publish on the internet as a warning to readers. Africa has my bullies.

There is no police, there are no strong personalities or elders who protest you, normally the women of a village are the stabilizing social police force in West Africa, the police, elders and heads are the abusers.

Yesterday, a few of the girls started to say hello, and a few of the more passive men began to have conversations with me, it was nice to have something other than being ignored. I suppose the idea is, we make money from him, and he leaves, why talk, I have been here for three days, they are starting to talk.

As a person walks around any village or city in the planet, they subconsciously learn how to avoid the negative and find the positive areas. I consciously search for the more interesting neighborhoods of the city, hoping to find a hotel that has the best neighborhood. The African guidebook writers are annoying, they subconsciously have highlighted the hotels where they can drive a car to, enter the compound, park, and the whole neighborhood is isolated, not actually in the city, but on the outskirts and away from easy to buy food, water, or people. I normally tag these in my mind as resort hotels. They want you to enter and make it very difficult to see anything, self-contained, has everything you need, and they will gouge-the-price sell it to you.

People traveling as couples, people with cars, about 99.5 percent of the travelers do not realize often they are isolated.

Running the Gauntlet alone as a man in Africa is a Macho experience. I had a sad realization the yesterday as I was pre-meditated being Macho or maybe you could say Alpha Male. I thought,

- I am becoming, as I was when I worked concrete in the USA. -

Macho or Alpha Male behavior is horrible thing; if a person learns to excel in this behavior, they become extremely dominating, assertive, and difficult. I for sure am a difficult person, and I know I am dominating. I remember Taia and Mark in Togo laughing and teasing me when I said,
- I am a dominating person. -
They joined in with a laugh and a push,
- Not you, Andy? -

Sarcastic and agreeing, however, nothing I did not already know, I need special types of friends to have good friends, or as they say in Africa, I Chop them, meaning to eat.

Africa is easy for me, however I know, I must leave and travel to softer countries like Thailand or Guatemala where there is not a 24 hour a day need to counter the social norms by also being Macho.

I sometimes think Religion is needed or they would kill each other, and when Religion becomes second fiddle, than a dictator or leader does go and kill each other. Religion modulates the masses and continually reminds a culture with no police to be civil. I sometime say or tell them what God wants them to do, so they back off, not a good thing, making a person feel guilty is dangerous and for sure a last resort to slow them down, and the time to leave.

Bolga is just a little too big, and has been damaged by the NGOs, or Volunteers, everyday four to seven children say give me money. I have girls stop to flirt and talk, then ask for money, they say, I am hungry. A girl with a cell phone in hand, asking for money for food, a looking for a fool to say yes to the question.

In any city, a person naturally, subconsciously learns how to live peacefully and productively in the city. The longer I am in a city, the more I learn the best places to eat, the internet cafes, the neighborhoods that are fun to walk through because of pleasant surroundings and people. Ideally, I am in a hotel that is surrounded by a nice neighborhood. This is NOT a hotel where I cannot see a house, to be surrounded by homes for me is best, to not be able to see many homes is the worst, and truthfully the most dangerous.

I have successfully run the gauntlets of Jerks in Bolga, I am ready to meet some of the nice people who wait to see if I leave or stay. I see about 1-2 white people per day here in Bolga, I have not talked with any of them, this presently is not a city with a lot of tourist. Strangely, the most I have seen is in Yeji, on Lake Volta, as the Ferry drops off a slew of them every day.

Tourism is seasonal, it is always possible that any city has a time of the year when many tourist visit. This is the best time to visit for the average person, and the time when most easy to enjoy a country. To come alone, run the gauntlet, and learn to deal with the locals on their terms is an Adventure. I call something Adventure Tourism, when a person has the possibility of being killed, even though normally remote. Bungie jumping is not really an adventure, however white water rafting and climbing tall mountains can be.

I know when I do not see other travelers; I am probably being an Adventure Traveler in Africa. I do not like to talk about this, I do not like to explain, I like to infer, allude, and not be clear. I do not believe it is possible for a person to travel into a truly dangerous situation for weeks. If they are not capable, they will leave, if they are capable of traveling safely then, they will continue on the path. Fear will create an excuse to leave, and the will remove themselves from danger.

I am glad I purchased the 12 or 13 books to read in Accra, it give me a mental diversion and creates a balance… I am laughing, I am reading another Tom Clancy book, and just finished a book by Nelson DeMille. I guess they are Macho books…

The sun is rising; it is 6:34 A.M. I will go for a walk, the best, and least macho time of the day is just after the sunrises, as the day awakes, the drunks are sleeping, the too lazy men are being too lazy, and all the women come out to sweep the sand.

Here in Bolga many children and adults walk to the storm gutter and brush their teeth, urinate, and wash their faces. The gauntlet is down, the sun is rising, and I need to leave.

Running the Gauntlet in Bolga