Ghana: Accra

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I’m heading to Sierra Leone tomorrow, and I still haven’t posted photos from the Ghana portion of my vacation, nor from the Casamance region of Senegal, where I went for work a couple of weeks ago. In an effort to catch up,  here is a quick and dirty recap of Accra (and you can read a few stories about some of the women I met in the Casamance here). 

I left Lomé on Monday morning and got a taxi to the border, about ten minutes away. After some shenanigans on the Ghanaian side (which I’ll write about some other time), I found the driver I had hired to take me to Accra a few hours away.

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On the way, we passed a bunch of woodworkers specializing in animal-shaped coffins, among other things. I don’t know whether this is an old tradition or a new trend but I like the idea of going into the ground housed in a chicken.

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The coffin shop above was called, “Are You God?” and I noticed that God showed up a lot in Accra, mostly in store names…

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…but also on the side of this humongous building.

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Other noteworthy sights / sites:

The oldest part of town, Jamestown, and the lighthouse at the very end of High Street, which follows the coast into the newer part of town.

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Along the way I passed a couple of dilapidated colonial forts, neither of which are official sites, so neither of which I visited.

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This beautiful old post office – also featured at the top of the post – is a little bit inland and just north of those forts.

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If you continue walking north on the high street you come to Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and Museum. The gates were closed when I arrived so I moved on quickly.

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I found my way to the main market, Makola, which was overwhelming and in which I got hopelessly lost.

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The Centre for National Culture, which is the artisans’ market, was less packed but just as overwhelming because many of the vendors followed me around trying to get me to visit their shops. (Which is why the picture below is nondescript – I waited to take it in a place where there was absolutely no one around to notice me stopping.)

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The aggressiveness of the vendors is understandable given how difficult it is to make a living in Accra, but it’s also a really counterproductive marketing technique to use on someone fairly introverted and highly averse to being approached by patronizing, assertive men. I bought a beautiful handwoven basket and a couple of lovely wooden bowls, both from vendors who were completely hands-off and who let their craftsmanship speak for itself.

This awesome old movie theatre was near Makola Market.

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Independence Square, also known as Black Star Square, was right on the water between the older part of town, and the neighborhood of Osu where I stayed.

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Kids playing soccer in a park in Osu.

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I never made it to the W.E.B. DuBois Centre (ran out of time), and I tried to visit the Osu Fort only to find out they are only open to the public for Friday tours. If I ever go back to Accra those are the two places that will be at the top of my list.

One thought on “Ghana: Accra

  1. Who knew that God featured so prominently in Accra’s businesses? I suppose it’s a sign of hope/faith/desperation in a small economy where it’s so difficult to eke out a living. I do agree with you that the idea of being laid to my eternal rest inside a wooden chicken has a certain appeal, though. I’m half-tempted to put that in my health care directive, just to give my relatives a good laugh! Thank YOU for giving me a good laugh, Ruth. Happy travels in Sierra Leone!

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