By Kara Scheer
On July 8th, five Cape Coast volunteers got up bright and early to head for a day trip to Nzulezo, a village on stilts built over Lake Tadane in the Western Region. Armed with groundnut sandwiches and ready for adventure, the ragtag group grabbed a tro-tro to Takoradi, expecting to make it to the stilt village in a short three hours (because that is what the guide book informed them it would take). Unfortunately, the trip ended up taking twice as long as expected and when the village visitors center was finally reached at 2pm they found that it would be another two hours until they would be able to get a canoe to the village. Thinking it was a day trip, they did not have enough money to stay the night there and realized that they would need to figure out a way back home that night. They pooled all of their money (counting every last pesewa) and crossed their fingers that it would all work out.
Their spirits were lifted by the trip to the picturesque stilt village and the group managed to retain smiles even after being drenched to the bone by a random shower of rain. The taxi driver who they had asked to meet them after the trip to bring them to the main road didn't answer his phone so they were ushered into a tro-tro by a woman who worked at the visitor center. Laughing, they bonded over the rickety tro barreling down the dirt road through the jungle and taking hair-pin turns onto plank bridges, comparing it to a virtual reality ride of Jurassic Park. The comedy of the situation increased as people ran out of the bushes and packed the tro- filling it to an impressive 17 people (with an 18th hanging onto the back).
Almost home, they were stopped by a policeman and informed that they were overloaded. They panicked thinking that they were so close and were about to be kicked out onto the road. Calmly, the driver told them they just needed money. The girls scrambled, nervously searching their wallets but the driver just laughed and grabbed one cedi from one of the girls, which seemed to do the trick!
They finally pulled into Elmina, which was in the midst of a festival, and were dropped off in the milling crowd. It was 11pm and the girls hadn’t eaten for twelve hours, so they raced to Sea Top and inhaled egg sandwiches, as they quizzically stared at the hundreds of people dancing in the freezing down pour, amazed by the insanity that had taken over their usually low key neighborhood. Somehow, this insanity seemed like a fitting end to one of the craziest adventures for the girls thus far.