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Saturday 19th January - Holly

"Akwaba", welcome in the Akan language, is visible all over the city - on buildings, posters and hoardings. Situated on the shores of the lively Atlantic Ocean, the city of Accra has been the capital since 1877 when the region was called Gold Coast under the British. Today, Accra is a bustling economic and administrative hub, and is a good starting point for touring the rest of this large West African country.

Being a long-standing capital, Accra is a city of buildings and structures. In particular I hope to visit the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum tomorrow.

As you drive through Accra, brightly-attired women in traditional African gear accost the car - you can buy water, plantain chips, and even fruits in the midst of busy roads. Women are the main sellers in general, I would say.

Lorinda took me round the mall and on the way home, we took a detour past the 37 Military Hospital where there is a huge colony of fruit bats in the neem trees that surround the hospital. Here's a little fact for the next pub quiz: in a bid to fight the mosquito menace, the British planted the neem trees - extract of neem leaves is thought to be helpful as malaria prophylaxis.

And here's the explanation for the bats: according to legend, bats followed a sick tribal chief to the hospital, and waited to go back with him. But, he died there. So now every evening, scores of bats fly out, conquering the skyline of Accra.

I can't believe my African journey is nearly over. It is extraordinary how, as the nostalgia already begins to deepen, "stories" begin to breed like cells under a microscope, morphing the truth beyond recognition. I'm sure that on my return my accounts of my time here will seem slightly hyperbolic but my little mind hasn't quite processed everything yet; you'll have to bear with me.
Posted: 2/21/2011 7:16:47 PM by elaine