Ghana: Christmas at the Centre of the World

 

Ghana is situated closer to the centre of the world than any other country. The Equator and the Greenwich Meridian meet there.

The run-up to Christmas was a bit depressing. We spent the first three weeks of December in the back  country of Togo, Benin and Ghana, which gave us a fascinating insight into a lost world organized around the worship of spirits and ancient social allegiances (to Kings, Fetish Priests and traditional Chiefs) and where magic permeates every aspect of life. We met characters straight out of story books and witnessed phenomena which we still cannot explain. And most of that time, we were the only visitors around. There was not a tourist in sight.

But such an insider view into a secret world comes at a price. It was rough going. Limited infrastructure. Bad hotels (Laura has a 2-page long list on everything that can go wrong with a hotel !). Bad roads. Bad food. Endless journeys on broken, dusty roads in the dim light of the Harmattan-veiled sun. And all the while, that nagging feeling that at home, we would be preparing for Christmas, chosing presents, decorating the home and setting up the Christmas Tree. Meeting with friends and family and attending our usual year-end performance of the Nutcracker.

So by the time we reached Takoradi on December 24th, physically and mentally exhausted, it was time we saved Christmas from the Grinch in our subconscious who had stolen it.

We started by creating a wondrous virtual Christmas Tree on our iPad which was proudly displayed on the small desk at the Planters’ Lodge, where we stayed.

We then found a great Christmas buffet with turkey and stuffing, roast suckling pig and other delicacies.

Being internet-challenged in Takoradi, we were not able to download the traditional heart warming Christmas movie and so had to settle for two irreverent episodes of the Simpsons, which we watched on Christmas night.

Finally, after a few calls and Skypes with friends and family, we felt remotivated and re-energized. Christmas had returned !

Christmas trees (the real type) come and go. But we will remember Christmas at the Centre of the World with our virtual tree and the Simpsons for a long time !

Merry Christmas !

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Back to civilization

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Christmas parade at the centre of the world !

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