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Coming Down from Mole

sunny 32 °C

In her 1996 novel, ‘Coming Down from Wa’, Galiano islander Audrey Thomas wrote about life in northern Ghana and her story was brought to life for us when we followed her footsteps and headed south from Mole back to Sunyani. Of course there have been changes in Ghana since Thomas lived here for two years from 1966-1968. For example: the Chinese are building major highways linking the remote agrarian communities in the north to the more prosperous industrial conurbations in the south. Here is a short section of the hundreds of kilometres under construction – note the numerous cellphone and TV towers…
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There are also a number of hydro-electric power stations feeding power to the southern cities, but the cables pass right by the homes of most northern villagers without stopping…
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It is almost inconceivable to us that despite the enormous amounts of foreign aid that has poured into this country since independence more than 50 years ago little has changed for a large percentage of Ghanaians. As we take the road south from Mole we pass dozens of villages comprised entirely of thatched-roof mud huts where there is no sanitation, no electricity, the water still has to be fetched from the river or from a hand-pumped well and all cooking is done over an open fire,,,…
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If we didn’t know that these rural communities were authentic we could easily believe that we have wandered into a museum exhibit.…

While the idea of existing entirely without modern conveniences in a tiny mud hut may have an appeal for some people who are tired of keeping up with the Joneses, we doubt that many would relish living virtually penniless in conditions like this…
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Charcoal burning is one of the few economic activities in this region and sacks stand by the roadside awaiting collection…
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But charcoal production has left large swathes of the savannah woodlands with insufficient mature forests to shelter and support large wildlife. Wild animals of all kinds, including monkeys, are fair game for the villagers and poaching in the game reserve is rife, as is the practice of enticing the game to leave the protected areas by providing food. Young boys stand by the roadsides and wave dead animals at us as we pass in the hope that we will buy them for a few cents. The roadsides are littered with smashed and broken-down vehicles of all kinds. Weight is simply not a factor and goods are piled on trucks, buses and taxis until the chassis snaps, the axles break, the brakes burn out or the wheels simply fall off. Often the disabled vehicles are unloaded and abandoned in the ditch to be cannibalised and rot...
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Coming down from Mole isn’t a particularly pretty experience, but it sure is an eye-opener.

Posted by Hawkson 13:23 Archived in Ghana

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Comments

I often wonder about the people who live in these villages - are they content? Thanks for the pictures and comments that I would not have seen otherwise.

by Janet

Ah Janet - It is comforting to believe that the millions of Ghanaians living in these primitive conditions are content, after all they are better off than the millions of Africans who have far less.

by Hawkson

Finally found you both

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by Amanda

Very interesting; must have taken a lot of research to prepare and lots of excellent photos.Thanks.

by david

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