We have had some exciting times these past few weeks. We had our mid-semester retreat in which we traveled to Northern Ghana to visit
The park was well worth the adventure traveling there. We got to relax by the heavily chlorinated pool (we hear they pump the water from the water hole), eat semi-American food, and go on two Safari walks with our armed guides. We walked right from our hotel down the hill into the park where all the animals freely graze. There were two water holes within sight from our hotel where we would watch the elephants bathe each morning. The hotel was set on a bluff above the water holes about 200 yards, so we had a great view of 100s of wild animals. The elephants were awesome. They are enormous creatures, and they really do kind of run the place. We came within about 30 yards of elephants, and at one point during the adventure they even became agitated to the point that they ran towards. There was about 15 of them, and when they started raising their trunks to smell us along with flapping their huge ears in frustration, the guide was quick enough to predict there anger, so we took off in the opposite direction. Right after that when they had calmed down a bit and stopped running after us, there was a gun shot in the area that sent them running again. I guess it was a poacher of some sort, but he was hunting something in the distance that wasn’t an elephant. During the little hike we were also able to see water buffalo, water bucks, bush buck, cobb, warthog, crocodiles, monkeys, baboons, lots of cool birds, and awesome butterflies. It was a ton of fun, and I am so glad that we had this type of an experience with so many of the African wildlife.
One of the most entertaining things around the park was the baboons. Let’s just say that they always made sure that they were the center of attention when they were around. There was probably about 30 in the area around the hotel, and they would waltz right into the compound to steal whatever they could get their hands on. Some of the pictures show how close they would get to you. They would walk right up to your table at the restaurant and steal whatever food you had on your plate at the time. At one point a group of the baboons stole a stamp from the office, and a few of the workers had to run down the hill after the group. Amazingly, they did get the stamp back, and it made for some good entertainment anyways.
Upon returning from Mole, we immediately got back to work with our research projects in Wiamoase. By now we have tons of great contacts and friends, so things are falling into place a bit more than initially. We only have about five more weeks here, so we are trying to get the bulk of our research done now that we have established ourselves in the community a bit.
Last Sunday was also a fun one because we decided to go to church with Ester, our host mother because she had requested that we come. She is a member of the Salvation Army, which is a fun church to attend because they are quite Pentecostal and they like a good time when they attend their meetings. We were up clapping and dancing, and the band was bumping. Songs like “Onward Christian Soldiers” were blasted by the band of two trombones, three trumpets, two baritones, a base drum and a snare drum. It was a good time, but far from the church meeting we are so accustomed to in our church.