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  • Writer's pictureThe Old Farmyard Forceleap Farm

Ghana - Finally underway!

So as previously mentioned, I am off on my sabbatical with Toby and Mikey over the next 10 months. Stage one is Africa, starting in Ghana, which I obviously know well. This will probably be the most challenging part of our trip for the boys as it is such a different culture and an extreme environment with all the health implications that brings. It will be interesting to see how the children adapt. We will ultimately be in Langbinsi in Northern Ghana, which is the village where I lived while volunteering at the agricultural station (I hate to say it) 18-19 years ago. There we will live in our friend’s compound and I will organise some sort of education either in the local school or home schooling. My friend is James who I worked with when I was in Ghana and he then came to the UK to do his masters and stayed with me. I have built a small annex of two rooms that open into his compound, and this is where we will be based. But first we must get there!

We arrived in Heathrow for check-in and Mikey tugged at my shirt and whispered “Mummy, there are a lot of black people in this queue!” Something he is going to have to get used to I feel! Actually that is key thing I would like them to experience and that is being the minority. We flew the really surprisingly short flight from London to Accra, over the Sahara dessert. Mikey was disappointed to not be able to see either a camel or a snake in the dessert from the plane.


We arrived in Ghana and Toby was keen to point out that all the wheelchairs waiting for the disabled passengers had mountain bike tyres on as if embarking onto cross country expedition. At the baggage claim we met our friends Captain and Richmond who somehow had managed to talk their way through customs to greet us. So, I introduce Captain to you. A friend of James who has been tasked with somehow finding a car for me to buy for my time in Ghana.

I am very relived to report that Captain was good to his word and has found a pickup for us which I have bought. We spent the first couple of nights in Winneba at Captains house where the kids became friends with his grand daughter Isobel. We spent the first day relaxing and went swimming and to see the coast and watch the enormous waves crashing onto the rocks, it really is the most perilous coastline.


The first proper spin in the car was to Cape coast with the kids waving to everyone and saying hello, hi, hello, hello and they are delighted that pretty much everyone waved back. Toby has taken up fist bumping the policemen at every roadblock, which is working so far, but might well backfire at some point! The pickup is a pretty rough affair, and we are all having to get used to not having automatic windows or central locking and I am having to remember to turn my lights off! But it goes and is quite low milage and so should be fine for what we want.

When we got to Cape Coast we paid a fleeting visit to the slave fort, but I decided it is just too dark and grizzly and generally a complicated history for two small boys to handle and so we just went onto the ramparts and looked at the cannons and I explained how this was a slave fort and that slave were traded here and this was really bad and very sad for the people involved, but I left the dungeons, killing cells and the famous door of no return for another day when they are bit older.


We then spent a day in the rain forest at Kankom where we did a hike and the canopy walk. The boys did the 30 minute canopy walkway in less than 2 minutes! So were sent back by the guide to pick up Mum who was stumbling across walkway 4 of 7 carrying water bottles, binos, sun cream and 2 hats while trying not to drop anything or fall off the wobbly walkways!.

On the way back we had a very popular lunch at a restaurant which sits on the side of lake with many crocodiles which you see from time to time as you eat, much to the delight of the boys. Less pleasing with the boys is the food always having pepper. Mikey was not happy when the tomato sauce on Mikey’s margarita pizza had pepper in!!


Mikey has now renamed the dozens of hawkers found at every junction selling everything from food to tissues, soap to bicycle parts as “The walking shops”, which is an excellent name for them I think. Every journey is accompanied by Toby asking to buy something from the walking shops .

Next, we then did our first big journey from Cape coast north to the city of Kumasi. It took about 5 hours, and we only broke down once so that was OK! Funerals are very common in Ghana and they are loud and very visual and flamboyant and the main social activity for most Ghanaians. As we were travelling on a Saturday, we passed dozens of funerals, including a police mans where there were about 300 police man with lots of guns milling around. We even got tangled up in two funeral processions when they were taking the coffins for burial as well as passing several coffin shops and so Mikey is now the worlds expert at coffin construction making knowledgeable comments about the standard of the coffins we pass!

Our progress North has somewhat stalled in Kumasi where we have been staying in my favourite guest house hosted by Frank (who the boys adore). Our fellow guests are evangelical Missionaries from Texas who I have had some interesting chats with buts whose knowledge about spice/pepper avoidance tactics they employ with their son has been invaluable. I say stalled as the boys have discovered the benefits of A/C, Peter Pan Pizza (with 0 pepper in) and a posh hotel up the road with a swimming pool, but most of all they have fallen in love with Otis, Franks dog! I have also spent the time in Kumasi stocking up with some non spicey food for the boys, including a miracle find of Pesto, the most expensive pesto I have ever come across mind you, but pesto none the less!


Anyway, we are up early tomorrow and plan to set off to Tamale (which is the capital of the North) but is a good 6 hour drive, once you clear Monday morning Kumasi traffic. Now the real experience begins and I hope it does not involve too many breakdowns!


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2 Comments


Caroline Boswell
Caroline Boswell
Oct 01, 2023

I am so glad Captain found you a

pick up!

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ruthdashwood
Sep 27, 2023

Thanks for up date FROM RUTH And Fiona.

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