VOLU, the Ghanaian Voluntary Organisation
In 1980 I visited Ghana for the first time, participating in a voluntary project. Volu, the Ghanaian Voluntary Organisation, offers the possibility to Ghanaian volunteers, mostly students and teachers, but also to volunteers from abroad to participate in voluntary projects all over the country. There are different types of voluntary work like construction work, working at a plantation or with kids and in hospitals. The VOLU office is in the citycentre at the Highstreet, not far from Akuma village. I had to register in advance, but could chose the type of work first in the VOLU office after arrival.
With a lot of Ghanaian volunteers -and some European- I helped with the start of building a community centre in the Volta Region. For my first acquaintance with Africa below the Sahara, it was a very good decision to meet the people by staying in one village for some time instead of touring around and see all quickly from a distance. Participating in a VOLU project became one of the most impressive experiences in my life.
Au Grand Ecuyer
At the Ring Road East, directly opposite of the UN Headquarters in Ghana, you will find the small French restaurant Au Grand Ecuyer. It is a nice place with a roofed terrace and a cosy interior and surprisingly decent personnel: something you rarely see in Ghana.
The menu is not really as French as the name of the place suggests. You can get some really nice dishes with French names, but it is not realistic to call them typically French. But nevertheless the food is very, very good here. Their chicken khebab, the fried rice, their fish dishes and especially the fishermans soup are very good.
The prices are quite expensive compared to other restaurants in Accra, but for that money you get excellent food, a nice atmosphere and very good service. For a maindish you pay about 70.000 cedis or $ 7,-.
Accra, Ghana research conference
"My introduction to Accra, Ghana"
My introduction to Ghana began when I prepared to board the plane in New York. We were instructed to stand in line with our baggage, which was then piled in a heap. There were several lines to pass through before we boarded the plane. Once in Ghana, I began to manuever myself toward the exit, only to realize that hundreds of people waited for us to come outside. I asked a gentleman inside to use his cell phone. I promptly called the hotel to send someone to pick me up. This saved me from the many taxis waiting outside. The drive to the hotel was interesting. I could see people squatting by open fires to cook their meals. The La Palm Royal Beach Hotel seemed to be an oasis among those who lived their daily lives. Once inside, I gained wireless access to my computer to get an update on what I was supposed to do next and where I was to go. I was offered a cool drink which was a welcome relief from the sticky humid heat outside. Before long, familiar faces greeted me in the lobby, and the week of the conference had begun.
"Getting around Accra"
I actually stayed at a small unknown hotel called the Deon Hotel. The front desk recommended a driver, Ken, who drove me around town, to the conference, etc. for the entire week. He helped me find a computer store, a big birthday cake, where to buy souvenirs, etc. It was very helpful to have someone who knew the area so well, and was punctual and trustworthy.
"La Palm Royal Hotel"
The conference was held at the La Palm Royal Hotel. It connects to a large conference center, including a business center and fine stores. This hotel had several restaurants, one of which was under thatched roofs on the beach. The entire compound was enclosed in fencing with guards around the parameters. I quickly discovered that the beach was not suitable for swimming, as trash had washed up on the beach. But the resort itself had a magnificent pool with pool bar. Nearby seating was shaded by large palm trees. The water was very refreshing, the service of food and drinks outstanding. The staff were courteous and helpful.
the first day of the year on Labadi beach, Accra
the first day of the year is a religious festivity in Ghana, a lot of people went to church, but it is also the occasion to show yourself, to make one walk in beach with the more fashionable dressed ones, drink and to amuse with the friends or the family!
Labadi is the most famouse beach near Accra and during the week is quiet, but the 1st of jennuary of each years, from 11 o'clock AM the peole start to arrive in the beach, take place in the beach bar....doing watching people, take pictures, do a little ride on the horsees...looking to acrobatic dancer or ragga musician!