It is hard to believe another week has gone by already... especially since this week marks the halfway point of our volunteer experience. It is the end of session one of two sessions of the Ghana ACT summer program, and while Molly and I are staying for both sessions, many of our fellow volunteers are not. While it is sad that some of our friends are leaving, it is fun to meet the new volunteers that continue to arrive. This past week we went to Mole National Park, which is located in the northern part of Ghana. We volunteer in the southern part of Ghana, so we trekked across the nation, which is quite an adventure.
Instead of taking tro-tros, we took the Metro buses, which are part of a government initiative to make cross-country travel safer. We left last Sunday at 4:00 am and drove 8 hours to Kumasi, which is a bustling town with quite a different--more aggressive--feel to it than Ho. Molly and I did a long run in Kumasi, weaving around the vendors and dodging taxis and curious pedestrians. We stayed overnight at the Methodist Church, where we were greeting warmly by Mama Suzie's brother. (Mama Suzie is one of the administators of McColin's School--Molly and I eat lunch with her every day.) The next morning we woke up again at 3:30 am for the bus to Tomale, where we got another bus to Mole. This last leg of the journey was the bumpiest ride I have every been on. For 4 hours our bodies were jostled all over the place in a bus that was going way too fast on a washed-out dirt road that must never have been maintained. At some points, we were thrown 3 feet up in the air (there are no seatbelts!) We didn't arrive at Mole National Park until 8:00 pm. It was a LONG two days of travel, but Mole was definitely worth every minute of it!
Mole is over 4,000 square kilometers of the wild African bush--it was begging to be explored! The first morning that we were there, we went on a safari with a guide. (The guides always carried a rifle just in case an animal got too close). That night we stayed in a treehouse in the middle of the jungle. (We had a guide with us the whole night.) While we were in Mole, we saw countless warthogs, baboons, red monkeys, antelope, crocodiles, and ELEPHANTS!!! The elephants were everywhere--we even saw them in the moonlight when we stayed in the treehouse. Needless to say, while we were in Mole our runs were adventures! This week, I think the pictures will do most of the talking... Though the trip there and back was long and, at times, brutal, we will never forget our once-in-a-lifetime experience at Mole--as you will see from the pictures.
Warthogs sleeping in the shade
An elephant that got within 100 feet of our room
The treehouse we stayed overnight in
Our safari guide
An elephant greeting
So many elephants!
They were so close to us!
Crossing the river