This weekend CIEE took us on another field trip, this time to the Volta Region. We took a 3ish-hour bus ride north into the steamy, mountainous jungles of Ghana on Saturday morning, stopping at a monkey sanctuary on the way. There we were each provided with a banana and led into the forest with our guide, who made a funny monkey call to let the monkeys know there were people with food coming through. (Note: I didn’t believe it, but monkeys actually love bananas. I thought it was an old wives’ tale, you know, like you’re always taught that mice eat cheese, and elephants eat peanuts, but you know they don’t really.) Within a minute, a dozen small, furry bodies came leaping through the trees up to the trail, and the guide showed us how to hold onto our bananas tight while they ate out of our hands. Once I worked up the courage to hold my banana out, I had four or five monkeys on it, but I got scared when their little fingers started scrabbling at mine and let go of the banana. I had more fun watching other people feed them.
That afternoon, once we drove on a little ways and had lunch at our hotel, we went to visit the tallest waterfall in West Africa, where we swam around and enjoyed the cool jungle water. It was breathtakingly beautiful, with dark brown butterflies flickering everywhere through the trees and frogs the size of your fingernail springing about on the banks of the stream.
Sunday morning we drove a half hour to the base of the tallest peak in Ghana, all of us ready to climb up and view the country from the clouds. When our guide, Dennis, told us it would only take 40-45 minutes to get to the top, we all were a little disappointed, thinking it would be a quick, easy hike up and down. Oh gracious, were we wrong. Instead of taking a gradual approach at the mountain, this trail tackled it head-on, taking us STRAIGHT UP the side. There were points where we were “climbing” more than we were “hiking,” using hands and feet to get up the steep slope. It took me about an hour to make it up the 295 meters, and once I reached the top, it was beautiful. The way down turned my knees to jelly, but at least my lungs had caught up with the rest of me at that point.
All I could think of on the bus ride home:
What a grand adventure.