Akwaabah! Welcome to Ghana. In the ten days that we’ve been here, we have learned a lot about Ghanaian culture, yet there is still plenty to uncover and experience. Our initial impressions told us that everyone is very hospitable and welcoming, and everyone is reaching out to support you, as it is a communal culture here. No one gets left behind. Settling into our new lives here in Takoradi we have only touched on the tip of the iceberg, tasting the local flavors, commuting by taxis, tro-tros and buses and witnessing the devotion to faith in daily life.
While on project we are spoiled with amazing breakfast and dinner meals by our host mom/family. Lunches, we fare for ourselves, discovering the hot, freshly made to order from the vendors, street foods of waayche, deep fried plaintains (in fresh form and as chip form) to air-conditioned comfortable restaurants featuring a menu of fufu, banku, chicken, fish and goat dishes, jollof, red-red, and fried rice.
The staple ingredients of beans and rice are featured in many of the local dishes are seasoned on the light side, going on the less salty side of the spectrum. Whereas the black sauce coating the waayche is a spicy-lover’s dream come true. It’s not for the weak, so be warned! For the sweet-tooth, track down mobile refreshments on the pedal bicycles to experience Ghana’s best kept secret of FanIce. Under the hot Ghanaian sun, FanIce is the perfect cure to cool you down. Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry Yoghurt flavours to satisfy all. Looking for more natural flavours?
Look no further than the bustling fresh fruit stands which are prominent throughout the city’s bustling streets. Try the sweetest, juiciest mangoes (ripe off a tree), a variety of white flesh pineapple, bursting with flavor despite its deceiving green exterior, and buttery avocados that melt in your mouth. Local flavours, local dishes, offering great options for the adventures of the taste-buds. When seeking international flavours, Takoradi delivers on Chinese and Western dishes in and around the beach resorts, located a short taxi ride out of the city centre.
Once daily traffic builds up, the streets become your shopping centre. Anything and everything is available from street vendors approaching you at your window of your taxi or tro-tro ride. Common items for sale range from food & water, apparel, footwear to electronics. Taxis, tro-tros and air-conditioned buses. Moving within Takoradi is a breeze since almost every third car is a taxi. Spot taxis easily by their golden-yellow-marked sides. Negotiate your taxi fare before boarding with the knowledgeable drivers who navigate the city streets like NASCAR drivers. Be sure to buckle up for security, some roads come with unfilled potholes (navigated expertly by these pro-drivers)! Grab a shared taxi for fixed rates, and a communal route, shared with other riders along the way. Or a drop taxi for door to door service. Tro-tros are the connecting buses between the other destinations inside and outside of Takoradi. Like a shared taxi, but much bigger capacity, and travels longer distances.
With only two and a half weeks left on project, we hope to let the rest of the culture soak in, digging deeper for more of what the Ghana has to offer!
– Rachel Ouellette & Edna Quan, Youth Ambassadors, Ghana 2014