Malaria Pills, Cruise on the Volta, and Palm Wine
On my 2nd day in Ghana, we woke up really early to head to an all-day cruise on the Volta River in Akasombo. Even though we left at 5am in the morning, there was still a remarkable amount of people on the road jogging and preparing for work.We arrived much earlier than expected and stopped off at the Volta Hotel restaurant for breakfast.While there, we ran into a group of elderly African American women who broadcasted several times that they had to take their malaria pills.I’m not quite sure why this bothered me so much.I too was taking malaria pills, but I just took them privately as I would any other form of medication.My assumptions could be misguided, but the whole act of announcing seemed to be an attempt at attention seeking in addition to the affirmation of “I’m in Africa”.I thought the announcement of the malaria pills was an anomaly, but I found that whilst on the cruise ship, the announcements flowed just as the Volta River.
The view along the river was magnificent. We passed tilapia farms, dense tree-lined hills, and mini mountains.We were entertained by a live band playing everything from Nigerian and Ghanaian favorites to Reggae and some American classics like Madonna.Our cruise also included a meal. While I was trying to be adventurous, my adventure stops at eating fish with the head still attached.Instead, I opted for the chicken and jollof rice.It was a bit spicy, but good nonetheless!I also tried palm wine.My first knowledge of palm wine came from reading Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart as an undergraduate at Lincoln University.I enjoyed the first three sips. Thereafter, I couldn’t bare the aftertaste nor the smell.
We remained on the river for quite some time. After awhile, the scenery became much of the same.I was able to catch a few winks and read some of my book while talking to my friend in between.Midway through the cruise, we docked at Dodi Island. We were greeted by the residents of the island who were dancing, singing, and drumming.As we disembarked from the boat, the sun was shining bright and I really felt the heat.Children quickly approached us asking our name and taking our hand.I thought it was so nice for the children to welcome us into their Island.My friend let me know that they were doing it in hopes that I would give them money.Yes, I was a tad naive.There were so many “check points” around the island of residents that it was impossible to give money to all, but I did manage to leave some Cedis with a few children.The island was filled with cacti, rocky red/orange covered hills, and great views of the river.I took a few pictures. Normally, I’m snapping away – but for some reason I felt as if I was exploiting the residents. My friend relieved my confliction by indicating that the residents chose to be a part of the tour. I didn’t randomly intrude into their home.After a short walk around the island, we headed back to the ship and set sail once again on the Volta.