I have been to my father’s home town frequent enough that I know my way around. I can take a VIP from Accra to Kumasi and get off at the Shell roundabout at Ejisu. I know where to get the taxi and it costs 70p between the taxi station and my uncle’s house. I know how to get my dad’s house, but I don’t usually go there unless he is in town. I have also been there frequent enough that my cousins and aunt are comfortable to hit me for some cash.
I have a regular spot that I frequent where I usually bump into an “Ashanti Bogga”, these are guys who have lived in UK, US or Germany and have come back (9 times out of 10 by deportation) and obviously the sign on my head that says “foreigner” attracts them to me where they tell me tales of their life abroad. To be fair I am probably the only female who has ever frequented this particular spot so they know I am a foreigner. I know the best hotels to stay in if you are in town for the weekend, I know where the market is and the only decent pharmacy in the area. I have been there so many times that I can count it as my home town.
On the other hand, I don’t know my mother’s hometown, heck she doesn’t know it. The first time she went there was when my grandmother died and the second time was over the weekend when her auntie was buried.
My mother’s hometown is in the Volta region a town called Adidome. It is about 2 hours out of Accra, across the Tema motorway and you take a left once you cross the bridge to Sogakope. I knew this already because I had been to Sogakope a few times and saw it on the sign board, however it was my first time to the area.
The Voltarians (known as the Ewe’s) are a much more peaceful bunch than the other half of my bloodline. When you get to the Ashanti Region you can just feel the hustle and bustle of the people as they go about their day, the Volta Region felt very calm especially as you entered deep into the villages. The local language spoken there is Ewe, a language that my mother never got to grips with and so she was just as much a stranger than I was.
My mother’s side of the family are very fair, in fact some of them are almost white, their tone is only distinguished by the type of work they do. The ones that do manual jobs are a bit darker but that is due to the fact they are working under the hot sun.
Where my dad is from, it is quite close to the main town of Kumasi, so a lot of the returnees and people who want to settle in Kumasi have built houses over the years, my mum’s hometown, not so much. Her cousin did build a nice sizeable house for which we had the reception after the burial but I think it will take a while before it becomes a “modern” town. There are a lot of old houses which are crumbling where maintenance, well I don’t think it was maintained after it was built. Every road however, has a street name so they have benefited greatly from our current president’s street naming exercise.
What I do love about the place is that there is lots of green. Lots of trees and lots of space, how nice it would be if the government or the rich folk from the area did something like, I don’t know put up a park. I hear that in places where there is lots of green you are likely to live longer, which may be true, there was another lady being buried that weekend and she lived to 127.
Unfortunately like with most village life, there are a lot of people just doing nothing, waiting for a funeral so they can get a free bottle of beer and a bit of food, maybe a bit of cash if they help out with the formalities.
The Volta Region is known for their sea food, prawns, tilapia, oysters, crab and tuna. I was so tired on the way home (it was a round trip) that I didn’t stop to buy anything. However, my aunt made a beautiful Tilapia soup with prawns with very hot pepper which I could have taken the whole pot. She also made okra stew with Tuna, crab and oysters, and well I have to say, she even overtakes my mum on the cooking front. With oysters, there is a very fine line between overcooked and rubbery or undercooked and Delhi belly (a running stomach). These were perfect, so if you need any tips on how to cook them in okra stew, I will send her round for a fee..haha
It was nice catching up with my mum’s side of the family, apart from her two sisters, I don’t really see that side of the family. The last time I saw my cousin before this event, he was a new born, today he is 23 years old. Where did the time go?
I don’t visit the Volta Region, in fact apart from Akosombo I rarely visit that side of Ghana at all. It is quite calming and peaceful and an great place to go to, to escape the city. I think that there is a lot more potential for a few more resorts. So if you are thinking of investing in the Ghanaian tourism, a little food for thought.
If you are a stranger to the land, I would go with an Ewe person, this is Africa after all. Plus things may get lost in translation. Apparently at my Grandmother’s funeral, my mother said that she would give some drinks to the locals. They took offence to being called a local and had it not been for the intervention of my aunt who does speak the language, she may have got herself in a bit of trouble.
So that’s a very brief overview of my hometown seen through the eyes of a first timer. All the old ladies have gone so I am not sure we will be gathering there again, but I don’t think it will be my last visit, I hope to travel there one day soon, if only just keep close to my roots.