Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Volta River

The Volta Region

         The Volta River is primarily in Ghana. It is 994 miles long and has three main tributaries; the Black, White and Red. It drains into the Atlantic Ocean at the Gulf of Guinea. Volta is the Portuguese word for twist or turn. This was the farthest point where Portuguese gold traders would go. Lake Volta is the largest reservoir in the world, extending some 250 miles to the north. It may just recently have  been eclipsed by the reservoir that was formed in China when the new dam was built there.  It is crossed by the Adome Bridge but the bridge is currently out and being repaired and is expected to take another two years to be finished.  

        When we drove to Ho we were able to cross the dam that backs up the river to the south and forms the southern boundary of the lake.  You are not supposed to take any pictures of anything that the Ghanaian government controls. We did take some through the bobbed wire. When we left Ho we went out the other side of the lake on a car ferry. No pictures  there either.

        After crossing on the ferry we drove to the Royal Senchi Resort and took a boat ride on the Volta River. We drove to see the ferry we had travel across on then we drove north to the Adome Bridge that you can’t cross and saw the sights in between. This is a world class resort on the river. Some very nice homes, beach front property but the signs at the hotel tell you not to swim in the river. Next to the hotel is a “water park”. Also along the river you see tilapia farms, small villages with their fishing boats tied up along side the banks and several kinds of birds because there is a bird sanctuary on an island in the middle of the river. There were some black ones with wonderful red wings.  Something worth seeing but flying much to quickly to take a picture.

        After our river excursion we had a wonderful buffet at the hotel. Expensive for sure for Ghana at about $25.00.  We get some very good meals for $12-$15.


Emmanuel Chance and the Chance Hotel

         Ho has two hotels that obrunis would stay in. One of these is Chances’ Hotel and Mall. Mr. Chance is a short, round faced Ghanaian, just a poor boy raised in a village over by the table mountain, so he says. What is so interesting is that somewhere he has made an exceptional living for himself and his family. He constructed his three phased hotel and the mall in a 17year period. The mall is a very, very clean grocery store on the bottom. At the current time there are no fresh vegetables, fruits or meat. The second floor is clothing, much of it with labels that say, “Made in the USA”. The third floor is household items, some furniture, and some exercise equipment. He does not want to buy Chinese so he has decided that he likes Ikea, that the quality is better.

        The items were all shipped from the US in a shipping container. Along with the store items, he had a very nice golf cart and a new Toyota minivan shipped to. He uses the golf cart to drive around his property. He has a home in Atlanta and a daughter in college there and two sons in college in Ghana because he can’t afford medical school in the states. In the store you could buy groceries and the clothes but the third floor to housewares was closed. With the signs they wanted you to believe that they were doing inventory. What it really was was that the cedi has fallen in value and they want to hold the merchandise until the value of the cedi rises.  I did get special permission from Mr. Chance to buy some of his Ikea scissors.

        We also had the opportunity to meet his wife who had lived in Germany for 15 years and got her  libensmitteltecknologie degree. She was testing Barry’s German and was impressed when he responded back that she got her degree in nutrition. Mr. Chance was pleased to have Americans and after asking if we liked French fries sent some with some chicken and Cokes to the pool and later asked his bakery chef to get us some typical Ghanaian sweets. Basically, the cookies were like hard tack. We could barely break off the skinny ends. The “peanut butter fudge” wasn’t bad. It had a creamy texture but was very spicy, heavy on the ginger and with some kind of a chili in it. You just could not eat too much.

        We chuckled as he told us about fixing African food in the states. One of the main staples in the Ghanaian is fufu. The fruit from the plant is very white and soft in texture. It is pounded with mortar and pestle until it is a doughy substance that can be shaped into a shape like we would form for a pie crust or sugar cookies before they are rolled. Pieces of the dough are then dropped into hot soup, like the dumplings that my mother would make and add to soup or stew. I have not tried the fufu but I have found no gringo that likes it. Mr. Chance says that you can make it in the states by using “Jack Hungry” and cornstarch and water. He says that he likes it better. I think that we could tell why.

        He also said that he found a place in Detroit that would sell him a goat. He took it home and dug a pit to roast it. The police sere not happy when they showed up but he showed them his receipt and when they said he couldn’t do it he simply told them he was African and yes he could. He didn’t say if he invited the officers for dinner.
This peacock took a liking to Barry and followed him everywhere.

Table Mountain