November 10, 2010

Volta Region

Over the weekend our program traveled to the Volta Region.  The landscape was so lush and green.  The Volta Region is in the southeastern part of Ghana and spans along the east end of Lake Volta.  We stayed at the capital, Ho.  Lake Volta is the largest reservoir on the surface of the globe.  Its formation was a result of the Akosombo Dam.  This hydroelectric dam which is pictured below (2nd to last photo) was built when Kwame Nkrumah was in office.  The Aksombo Dam symbolizes growth and a new beginning for Ghana. 

During our stay in the Volta Region we traveled to the Agumatsa National Park and went on a short hike to reach Wli Falls (pictured above).  Wli Falls are the tallest water falls in West Africa. The path we took to the falls had 11 points where we crossed the Agumatsa River.  Once we reached the falls some of my program mates ventured into the pool of water and slowly made their way beneath the falls.  On the rock face were thousands of fruit bats.  It doesn't seem like the best place for rest... direct sunlight, mist from the rainfall, but boy does it have a view. 

We visited a small village that is home to the Tafi Monkey Sanctuary.  This was such a treat!  Walking into the jungle I was a bit on edge.  I expected large, mean, trouble-makers.  What I found instead was small, friendly, cute, trouble-makers.  We brought a bunch of bananas with us and our guide, showed us how to properly feed them.  Then he proceeded to say that sometimes they'll eat right off your arm!  So, I extended my arm about one foot from the tree trunk and waited.  The little guys scrambled down and reached out... eventually one hopped on board and enjoyed a tasty treat from the seat of my arm! 
As we were departing the jungle the sun was setting and the monkeys were preparing for slumber.  They were hopping from tree to tree above our heads.  We even saw Commander, the King of the particular group of monkeys we had just fed.  At the end of the visit, our guide explained the benefits of the monkey sanctuary and relationship between the monkeys and the Ghanaians.  He explained that the funds have helped increase proper sanitation practices in the village, which of course leads to reduction in spread of disease.  Also, since the monkeys are now protected, so is their natural habitat.  All in all, it seems that this little ecosystem seems to be growing and prospering. 

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