January 31, 2010
What this means is you get the benefit of our mistakes--such as the time we took the totally wrong vehicle but ended up in a really beautiful part of the country and staying in a guest house that wasn't yet listed in any guide, discovering a new way to get about that area too. You get that--without all the hassle.
You will be able to navigate the country, alone, almost immediately if you read the guide before departing or anytime after arriving.
You also get the benefit of an articulate and well-traveled Ghanaian's perspective on travel, life, and culture in Ghana. For example, we've included a section on "dating and intimate relationships" for travelers in Ghana. Why? Because in our experience working and volunteering with hundreds of foreigners, about 40% (our rough guess) enter a short or long-term relationship with a Ghanaian and most have no idea what the heck is going on most of the time because the cultural gap is huge.
For example, most Ghanaians will say "I love you" after the first date or the first hour of knowing you. This is rather difficult for most westerners to comprehend. "You don't love me," they will reply. The word "love" is used offhandedly in Ghana. Obviously it doesn't mean deep, committed, caring love. It's generally what must be said to get things moving to the next level, even if it's shallower than Benya Lagoon; it's expected between Ghanaians. We interpret this and many other "challenges" that come up in relationships (and flings) between Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians so you can avoid getting burnt the way we have seen many others.
Many foreigners, for example, are asked for money or some kind of material good after a few days of dating. We've seen many people completely taken advantage of in this regard. We elaborate extensively on this.
You may not be planning on such an encounter, and we met many people who expressed no interest whatsoever, only to suddenly find themselves involved some weeks down the track--even when they had partners in their home country. It's not uncommon.
So, while we don't know of any other guide addressing this, we felt it remiss of us not to given the problems, drama and tears we've witnessed over the years. There is certainly scope to meet someone genuine, but we estimate that only about 1 in 10 people you meet are truly genuinely interested in you for being you (not a passport or ATM card or some other source of access to money or travel overseas). So, we devote about 5 pages to this in the 35 page section on background and culture. Watch this space. Or subscribe by email on the right to be kept informed about the imminent release.
Nevertheless, an excellent blogger (who spent 4 years volunteering for a medical charity in West Africa) at The Art of Non Comformity blog is campaigning to raise $500,000 by next year for clean water access in Ethiopia. I know much of this blog's readership understands the dire situation regarding lack of access to clean drinking (or any) water across much of the developing world so I thought you might be interested to get involved in this campaign knowing that any contribution will actually go where it's intended. Check out Clean Water for Ethiopia here to get the full story.
January 27, 2010
Check out the "Ghana Highlights" series if you're looking for info on Ghana. It's referenced as a link on the right hand side.
January 18, 2010
This is what makes it different.
1. It's written by the two of us (an Australian and Ghanaian) with the cumulative experience of our own extensive travels, work and life across Ghana.
2. It integrates years of feedback from hundreds of travelers and volunteers we've worked directly with about the best and worst of Ghana and how to do it--as insider's. Even before you leave home you have the benefit of hundreds of people's years of mistakes and best experiences distilled to the most important elements in one handy, downloadable resource.
3. Yes, our guide is a downloadable PDF that you will receive instantly upon payment. You might wonder why we're selling it. We need to live too. If you read the Insider's Guide to Volunteering you'll see that Gayle spent over $10,000 in her endeavours as a volunteer for a year in Ghana. We've both volunteered our time extensively to help organisations making a difference in Ghana related to poverty reduction and travel. This will help us to help others to keep making a difference.
4. It includes all the posts at this site plus some excellent information that you cannot get in or outside of Ghana. We'll outline that more in future posts. The posts from this blog formed the backbone of the guide--so you get everything from This is Ghana--organised brilliantly (if we may say so) with double what we have here as extra insider's tips and insights.
So, this is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more.
1. How Dangerous is travel in Ghana?
This is not really a surprise as we did a mini survey about what visitors wanted to know and Danger came out top of the list.
2. 19 Day tour of Ghana
We received numerous emails asking about what's best to see and do. After almost 4 years in Ghana, we put together our insider experience and created two different 19 day tours which you can see here. This was part of a "Ghana Highlights" series of posts which the link will direct you to.
3. A-Z of Everything I wish I knew about Ghana before leaving home
Packing and preparing to leave are not easy when you don't know what to expect. This post gives you the heads up.
4. 10 Days tour of Ghana
Like the 19 day tour, this was also a hit with readers with less time on their hands to see the best of Ghana.
January 1, 2010
You can read the whole post over at our new site G-lish.org or click on the link to the post: 17 Ways to Welcome 2010: Ghana Style
Here is a sneak peak!
1. Take stock of history.
Join us for a pictorial journey through Ghana and prepare yourself for the new year!
1. Take stock of history.
Viewing the courtyard of Elmina Castle, the oldest standing European building in sub-Saharan Africa.
2. Now, time for a fresh start.
A split fresh coconut at Green Turtle Lodge
3. Looking for a change of direction? What are you good at? Maybe you’re a great cook?
The holiday menu at Green Turtle Lodge
4. Ask: What do I want to do? Perhaps you’re creative.
Bead makers at T.K. Beads in the Eastern Region.
5. Define your goals: know what you’re aiming for
Team player kicking a goal at Bawku Peace One Day
6. Don’t be afraid to take risks, no matter how daunting
The ropeway above the jungle canopy at Kakum National Park in the Central Region
7. Don’t give up, no matter how ominous the signs
Paddling into a storm on the way to Nzulezo Stilt Village, Western Region
8. Teamwork makes everything easier
Fishermen pulling in the nets at Bakaano, Cape Coast
9. But have a little Fun
Elephants swimming in the lake at Mole National Park
Friends doing the Abbey Road thing at Lake Bosumtwi, Ashanti Region
11. Spice things up
Varieties of hot peppers for making the standard range of Ghanaian dishes
12. Hang out with your friends
Children hanging out in Bolgatanga
13. And your family
Godwin and his brothers celebrating together (in Global Mamas shirts!)
14. And don’t forget to stop and smell the roses
Or the perfumed lilies on the way to Nzulezo!
15. And appreciate beauty in simple things
Garden eggs for sale in a market in Cape Coast. They’re related to the aubergine or eggplant and essential to many Ghanaian soups and stews
16. Find a quiet place for inner reflection
Where better than Axim Beach Hotel at seven in the morning?
17. And, celebrate: Happy New Year!
A full circle: Elmina Dance Ensemble practicing in Elmina Castle.
Now it’s time for you to write your own history too.
It’s 2010. Happy New Year.