[ Sunyani, Ghana ]
Hello, and a belated Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate such things.
These past nine days have been physically demanding—more than anticipated. The issue, in a word, is hills…and lots of ‘em. Things like this happen to me a lot; a byproduct of pulling routes from my backside without bothering with pesky practical things like, oh, topography or season. Still, I wouldn’t change a thing: opening an unfamiliar map and randomly selecting a path—based solely on whatever happens to catch my fancy—is one of my all-time favorite things.
And aside from the leg-killing rollercoaster, Ghana has thus far been both great and intriguing. As per usual, my days have been largely a Connect-the-Dots experience of roadside encounters and village overnights—with forest landscapes and tiny trails creeping slowly into the picture. The weather is slowly showing signs of rainy season, too. And then there were the countless pentecostal Calls-to-Jesus that were going on in nearly every single village as part of the Easter Weekend festivities; surreal, that, and massive in scale.
Even so, for me perhaps the strangest evening was spent in a small crossroads village named Bediakokrom, where I attempted my usual evening routine: arrive late in the day and ask someone to guide me to the chief. At that point, I explain my journey and ask for a place to camp for the night. This time, however, the matter-of-fact reply I received from the local shopkeeper was anything but usual: Sorry. I can’t. The chief is dead.
It turns out that after a chief dies, but before he is interred and a new chief selected, a woman known as the Queen Mother takes charge of the village. I can’t give you too much background info on that front just yet—I kept my curiosity politely in check—but in this case I was given an audience with the Queen Mother, introduced before a large party of mourners. I felt a bit awkward, but dispatched myself respectfully and was granted both a welcome and a place to sleep—despite the ongoing, village-wide formalities. It was a fascinating evening, for sure.
Due to the somber nature of the ceremonies in Bediakokrom, I didn’t even ask to take any photographs, but there are plenty of images from the rest of the segment from Essam to Goaso. Further details are in the captions.