My final week in Ghana was chalk full of excitement and activity and, as I had expected, I found myself suddenly left with very little free time. I spend most of my final week darting from market to market trying to get in all the last minute shopping I had to do and running about the city trying to get all my final errands run before my unfortunate departure. I was able to get quite a bit done in a very short period of time and was grateful that I had so much to do as it meant that my final week was spent in a chaotic stupor and I barely noticed the time go by. When I did happen to find myself with enough time to think 2 consecutive thoughts I found myself thinking about all the wonderful things I have experienced in Ghana and about the millions of things I will miss about it but before I could upset myself thinking about my upcoming departure I quickly collected and organized my belongings and set about packing up the house.
I managed to collect a bag of ‘tradable’ items and made a point of going to the cultural center to try and swap a few of my belongings for some new, pretty, African items. I had been there earlier in the summer and a few of the men working had shown interest in my back pack so I made it a point to go back and was able to trade my collection for a wonderful new carry on bag for my flight home, a few key chains, some jewelry, and a lovely, colorful painting.
Making the trades was hilarious. No sooner had I put my bag down and said the word ‘trade’ was I swarmed by a large group of women who all wanted to check out the clothes I had – pawing through my bag and squirrelling away the things they liked faster than I could follow and soon enough I had managed to trade everything in my bag but an old skirt and a couple of ratty t-shirts which I had brought optimistically hoping to find them a new home. It was a really good way of getting some wonderful new things without having to spend more than a couple of cedis and I found new lives for some of my well-loved items.
By the end of the week every trotro ride and every hurried taxi I hired had turned into some sort of magical journey and I desperately tried to engrain every encounter and every funny moment into my memory. I found myself buying things through the car window at every opportunity as I was vividly aware that I would be unable to do so at home. I began leaving little gifts of Canadian flags and key chains around Accra, strategically stashing them where I hoped the people who I interacted with and bought from on a daily basis would discover them. I wistfully completed my tasks content to do even the most aggravating of chores and constantly repeated the mantra ‘this may be the last time I [blank] in Ghana’ over and over in my head. I have fallen so deeply in love with Ghana – its people are so friendly, and the culture is so rich that I fear I will have to leave my heart here but every day the reality of my departure gets clearer.
I have packed all my Ghanaian treasures lovingly into my suitcases, carefully wrapping each one in scarves and snuggling them down for their bumpy rides and have successfully bundled the 3 months of my Ghanaian adventure away into my suitcases and am, sadly, ready for my return to Canada. I spent my last ‘spare’ days in Ghana blissfully lounging on the beach and trying to fit in as much time with my friends as possible. I am heartbroken to leave but this trip has been more successful than anything I have done with my life to date and I know I will look back on it fondly for many years to come.
My time in Ghana has taught me many things, and has changed me in so many ways and it breaks my heart to think of leaving but I am more determined than ever to continue to travel and to continue to explore the world as I always hoped I would. I know that this is not the last time I will be in Ghana. It will not be the last time I am able to buy breakfast through a trotro window, or the last time I get caught in a torrential down pour on a wickedly hot day. It will not be last time I walk through the dusty, busy streets that weave their way through the city, and it will not be the last time I will get myself hopelessly lost in the insanity of the vendors and market women downtown. I hope that on my next visit I will know enough Twi to have a full conversation and I look forward to seeing even more of Ghana than I was able to see on this visit although I doubt that I will ever be able to get enough of the rich, intricate Ghanaian culture or see enough of the beautiful rolling fields that are scattered throughout the country or of the tall imposing mountains that dutifully guard the Volta Lake. I will never have enough of the markets or will ever be able to buy enough of the colorful fabrics to satisfy my growing addiction. I will never get tired of talking to strangers like we were old friends or being able to play with children on the street and – because of all of this- I will never forget my 3 months in Ghana.
I hope that you have all enjoyed my tales as much as I have enjoyed sharing them. For now this is the end of my adventure and, tragically, the end of this blog but I would like to thank all of you for reading and staying with me throughout my adventures. I hope that in the near future I will be heading out on new adventures to new and wonderful places and that I will find myself discovering all sorts of magical and mystical things but, at least for now, I would like to say one last time…
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
My love – Leah.