July 10th, 2010 is a day I may never forget. We drove out to Paga, a town in northern Ghana that borders Burkina Faso. The town is known for its sacred crocodile ponds that claim to have tame crocs. They believe in this so faithfully that their attraction is to entice a croc out of the water and then allow visitors to sit on top of it. This is exactly what we did - and got some great pictures and video to document it all. The second main attraction of Paga is the slave camps. This village served as a middle point for slaves captured from the northern region that would be later shipped down to the coast for oversea transport. A guide took us around the camp and showed us where they were shackled, fed, punished and sometimes buried. Locals performed ritual drumming on the rocks - the only source of entertainment and celebration for the slaves. It was difficult to see but important to remember the low points of humanity.
Our efforts to cross the border into Burkina Faso on the drive back were spoiled by the high costs of a visa. It was still exciting to see a small part of the neighboring country and speak a small bit of french with some locals. To say the roads from Wa to Paga are bad is an understatement. On the way back home I hit a very large pot hole which blew both of the drivers side tires. Fortunately no one was harmed, but we were left in a predicament. We were still about an hour outside of Wa just outside a small village called Sabuli. With no CAA to call we were at the mercy of strangers. Luckily we are in Ghana where people are always more than willing to help. In minutes there were 20 people around helping us. With help we managed to jack up the car with stones and remove both tires. We waited until a friend we contacted in Wa was able to pick us up. To our surprise he was able to track down two spare tires. About 5 hours later we made it back to Wa safe and sound. I am truly grateful to all the individuals who went out of their way to help people they just met.
It is now my final week in Wa. There are lots of loose strings to wrap up, including preparing the samples to come back to Canada. This week we will also be traveling to Kumasi with the regional director of veterinary services to visit a guinea fowl production system. After that I will be saying good bye to all the friends I have made here. I will then have a couple weeks to see the country and then back home to Canada. Time is getting very short and I am amazed at how fast it has gone.
All the best,