ACCRA, GHANA

A day at the beach

June 16, 2014

Sunday is dedicated to God in Ghana, like everywhere else in the world. Unlike most of the Europeans though, the majority of ghanian citizens are religious and attend the church every Sunday, in their most impressive outfit. Christianism prevails among religions, while Muslims also coexist peacefully with the former (http://www.ghanaembassy.org/index.php?page=language-and-religion) . The churches are plenty and have smaller or bigger differences in beliefs. Presvyterian, Pentacostal, catholic, protestants.

On this Sunday morning some of the interns and the locals woke up and directed to different churches. Some prefered an English speaking, while others a french speaking church.

Late in the afternoon we ordered our own trotro to go swimming in the atlantic ocean. It would be Labadi beach, which is located very close to Accra-city center and my school. Halfway our trotro was stopped by the police, which was armed. Frankly speaking, we were a little intimidated, because it was the first of the many times that followed that we were checked by the blue-dressed ghanian police. The control was focused on the driver’s license, the amount of the passengers and the speed. Most of the times bribing is the key to overcome the pointless delay. It is a common secret, anyway, that corruption has contaminated the police.

At 5 o’clock we finally arrived in Labadi Beach. Rnb music was spreading in the air through two gigantic speakers placed in the entrance of the resort. After the entrance fee of 10 ghc was collected from each passenger, we were permitted the entrance. Our excitement, enhanced by the music, was very high. Nonetheless, the beach was nothing like what I imagine when I listen to the word “beach”. The waves were long, frequent and mighty. The swimming area was indicated by big buoys and a lifeguard was fiercely whistling, when someone tresspassed the forbidden water. The swimming was also restricted in the first 10 meters close to the shore. Practically, the people were having fun being hit by the dark waves and diving into them.

Soon I found out that no girl was wearing a bikini. On the contrary, they were dressed by normal clothes, shorts and t-shirts. I, generated by Greece, had no idea of the perils that were hiding in the waves (I am not referring to the strong waves themselves, or the marine life). So I had my hot pink bikini on. Our friends said that we should stick together and we’ll be fine. The big waves in addition to the whistling, the friendly warnings and the fact that I was one of the scarce white girls in a hot pink bikini, made me feel a wee bit uncomfortable. This feeling did not stop me, though, from having my first contact to the atlantic ocean. The minute my toe touched the brown water, a stranger grabed me and carried me in his arms. I was trying politely to explain that I wanted to go back to my friends, when he finally let me go.

Once the first big wave hit me, I was decided to stay still and let it go through me. I was not ready to let an atlantic wave carry me away yet. But the wave came with a surprise-gift. A big, muscly man (probably the same one that grabed me before) had dived in it. He very rudely touched me in a place and way that made me seriously upset. In a split of a second I pulled him out of the water, called him a name and slapped him in the face. Picturing the incident now makes me laugh at my silliness. I should have looked like those tiny weak Maltese dogs who bark at the big strong wolfdogs.

After that, I felt that swimming was officialy over for me. Thus I joined the poeple of our company that did not know how to swim or were afraid to try. I did not blame them at all. Swimming is an extreme sport in Ghana!

White horses appeared soon on the beach, available to rent for a stroll or to be captured in a photo. Soon the night succeeded the day. The night paid me back, as we had an amazing beach party. At first the sandy dance flour was monopolized by an incredibly flexible man, whose moves were hard to compete. A group of people had formed a circle to admire the skinny bendable man. A woman was brave enough to accept the challenge and did not do bad atall. Slowly more people joined the circle. Us included. That night we danced the Ghanian beats barefoot. It was a carefree happy night just a breath away from the daunting yet alluring Atlantic ocean.

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