Let’s continue our adventures in Ghana with my first few days in Kumasi and a story about our trip to the Tini Waterfall!
After arriving in Ghana on Wednesday, I hit the ground running by spending Thursday at the Project Peanut Butter Factory in Kumasi. At the factory, they produce two things: RUTF (Ready to Use Theraputic Food) and ViVi. The RUTF is a unique peanutbutter recipe that is used to treat/reverse malnutrition in kids under 5. ViVi is a Hersey sponsored project for feeding school kids in Ghana; it is also peanut based with vitamins but smaller and it comes in regular, ginger, and cocoa flavor. I taste test all 4 products and liked them all!
I love factories and seeing how things work, so I observed the ViVi production and enjoyed seeing the product go from raw ingredients to packaged snacks. I also enjoyed my first real Ghananian food during our lunch break at the factory…banku and talapia stew. Now I like to consider myself pretty open to trying new foods…and I generally like fish and the banku was described as an uncooked doughy ball. I thought, well great! I love talapia and who doesn’t love a ball of dough?! Well, it turns out talapia stew is VERY fishy – including a whole fish tail floating in it – and you are supposed to eat the stew by dunking balls of banku in it with your hands….dear Lordy did I try my hardest to enjoy it but eventually failed and pawned it off on someone who would enjoy it far more than me!! For the next TWO days my fingers smelled like fish…..
Over the course of the day, I met many wonderful people who work at the factory and felt a very warm welcome.
Over the first few days, I was also able to spend more time with Pascal, an engineer from Germany who is working at the factory for 6 months trying to keep everything functioning smoothly (not an easy task!). Pascal had been living alone in the PPB apartments and was excited to have someone to hangout with (and drink beer like a good German!). He showed me around Kumasi and helped explain a lot of local things and how much things/food should cost on the street (the real price vs the “white person” price…). He also quickly got to work finding a weekend adventure now that he had someone willing to do some exploring.
We settled on the Tini Waterfalls, which he had heard about from someone at work. Little did I know, but there are not many (any!?) waterfalls in Germany! So Pascal had never seen a waterfall and he was very excited! He also managed to convince someone from the factory to join us for the weekend and help us navigate Ghana. Obed was a brave soul to take on two goofy white folks for the weekend and we enjoyed his company emensely! He generously arranged for us to spend the night in his home town atop a beautiful mountain range! Being Easter weekend, there were many street festivals and lots of people bustling around. We enjoyed a dinner of chicken and jollof rice (like Mexican rice, very yummy) at his cousin’s house and headed into town to enjoy some beers and music. Despite the downpour and power outage, it was a lovely evening!
The next day, we woke up in pursuit of Tini Waterfalls! Now, if I thought finding things in Israel was tricky…Ghana is a whole other beast. Without a website…or really any directions online, we were left to rely on roadside help – thank goodness for Obed!! Although English is an official language in Ghana, it is not widely spoken and most people speak Twi or a languag specific to their region. We knew the general direction we needed to go and quickly realized Tini Waterfalls is not a major attraction…i.e. No one had heard of it…..so we drove and drove, asking a long the way. We eventually got close and someone at a toll both was able to provide some rough directions and we knew to look for a roadside sign.
Alas, we saw the sign and turned down the dirt road….and bumped and bounced our way down the road, through some smaller villages, and eventually to a dead end with a wooden shade structure. Considering this was the end of the road, we figured we had arrived and started walking down…actually UP….the closest thing to a trail we could find. Good news! We were indeed in the right place and after a short hike, we were greeted by Tini Waterfall! Which is actually kind of TINY (Tini/Tiny…)…mostly due to the fact that the rainy season hasn’t started yet. NONE THE LESS, it was still beautiful! It reminded me of a low flow Bridal Veil Falls situated in a tall grotto. The surroundings were lush and the mist felt nice after the hot hike.
We eventually made our way back to the car and on our way back to Kumasi. A few days earlier, Pascal spotted a KFC in Kumasi and nearly exploded with excitement! So we made a plan to stop on our way back…..and ohhh boy! What a treat!!! The three of us shared a large bucket and were grinning ear to ear! Pascal said it felt like his birthday AND Christmas!
That evening we had the pleasure of meeting and having dinner with Dr. Manary, the creator of Project Peanut Butter. He came to check in on the project in Atebubu and I enjoyed hearing the stories of his work in Africa and the history of PPB.
He continued with us for the next two days to Atebubu…but that is for another day…
(Sadly, the Internet connection on my phone is not strong enough to upload photos into the blog. I will try to get some up on Facebook since that seems to work a little better)