Monkeys, Waterfalls, and turning 21

(Continuation of the weekend)


So, Sunday morning we departed NewSeed, said our goodbyes, and went on our way along with our friend, Godwin. Our first stop was at a monkey sanctuary. We took motor taxis there, which was pretty cool and reminded me of Togo/Benin. Our drivers’ let us drive the motorcycles on the way back! It was about a 7 km drive. I tried to bargain the price down and explained that he didn’t have to do as much work, but it didn’t work. We walked into a forest, bananas in hand, and our guide made some atypical noises with his mouth to call for the monkeys. Two different families of monkeys became our new and shared our with us. They jumped on our and ate the bananas right out of our hands! They have the smallest and cutest little hands. They’re a very adorable animal. If I don’t go back to the USA with a Ghanaian princess, I’m definitely bringing a pet monkey as a consolation!


After that, Godwin searched his village for the Voodoo magic man, but he wasn’t around. I drove my taxi driver back in a motorcycle, and then we spent about 20-25 minutes arguing about the agreed fare. I read somewhere that the average person will spend 2 weeks of his/her life kissing. I’d say the average Ghanaian probably spends 4 weeks of his life arguing. And, if you are a taxi driver, maybe a few months.


Then, we were off to go to the waterfall. We had to take a tro-tro about 40 minutes away, and when we got there it started to rain. We ate a local dish called, Akpele, something that isn’t served in Accra. Lots of people were watching us it, since we were probably the only Obrunis in the past month to sit down and eat there. My friend was eating with his left hand (the hand used for wiping your butt), and he definitely got some weird looks. I ate with my right hand, which, actually, is also the hand I use for wiping. So, I guess I had all the Ghanaians fooled!


We took a taxi to the waterfall, and by the time we arrived it was POURING. We weren’t sure what to do, as it was later than we had planned, wetter than we had expected, and we were all very tired. After the rain calmed down, we decided we had to go. We had to run there since it was getting dark soon, especially since it was raining. Our tour guide led the way, telling us about the landscape around us as he ran in flip fops! Then, he’d stop every few minutes and tell us to take a . Then, we’d get back on our way. After about a twenty-minute run, we arrived at our destination and met a beautiful . Even though the rain made it a bit chilly outside, we were sweaty enough that going in the cold water felt . It was nice being the only ones there. I’ve never been to a waterfall like this. It was .


We couldn’t swim in the fall for long, as we had to get back out of the rainforest before it got dark. On our way back, the guide was telling me about all the different animals that live there, and the ones that come out at night and can be dangerous to humans. That was exciting to hear…. We saw a crab in the rainforest. At the time, it seemed normal, but when’s the last time you’ve pictured a crab next to a banana tree? If it was recently then you’ve either been to Ghana, or you’re doing some intense drugs.


I really hope to go back there. There’s an upper falls that requires a 2-hour hike up the mountain that you can do. There are also caves there. Our guide also carved wood that he finds in the forest, and my friends decided to buy one of his pieces as an early birthday present. , right?


Then, our guide led us to his voodoo/joojoo man from his village. We really wanted to experience this traditional magic. There was a village drum that they only take our to call out the spirits. Unfortunately, they needed us to pay 150 Ghana Cedi for them to take it out. We were about 120 Cedi short. Bummer! They explained that they needed the money to go buy a goat and another animal to sacrifice plus some potion drink (that apparently makes you projectile from both ends at the same time) to call for the spirits. They said we could take pictures of the drum for 10 Cedi, but we weren’t interested. Maybe next time…


The ride back to Accra was probably worse than the original ride to Newseed on Saturday morning. I think I fell asleep over 25 times, all for less than 5 minutes. At one point I couldn’t hear the music playing from my own headphones because the music in the Trotro was so loud. I started cracking up when I heard the song, “What is LOVE?!” being BLASTED. Then, the radio lost connection and the speakers blasted static for the next 30 minutes. The driver was even changing it from station to station, hoping one could actually play music. But, they were all loud and obnoxious crunches. Apparently turning the volume down decreased the chances of the radio having a strong connection. I don’t know.


At one point, we stopped at some random house and the driver just left. A few men got out to urinate, and I followed since I didn’t know the next time we’d be stopping. Next thing you know, there’s about 8 guys in a tinkling line going on some random person’s lawn. Oops!

I finally got back to my room at around 11:30 at night, and I fell asleep for good! A few hours later I woke up feeling a little different. I had turned 21! Then, I rolled over and went back to sleep…

I ended up having a great birthday, though. My cousin Jamie works with someone who came to Ghana and offered to bring me some treats. When I met him at the airport, he offered to drive me back to campus. As we’re chatting, he learns that it’s my birthday, and next thing you know, we’re at a restaurant pounding beers, speaking in Twi, and celebrating my birthday. What a great guy! Thanks a lot Jamie!


After 5-6 beers on an empty stomach, I was feeling pretty drunk, full, and excited, though I didn’t know what to do. So, on impulse, I decided to join my friend and go on a run. That was fun. I’ve never burped beer while exercising before. I probably won’t do it ever again, either.


That night, I invited some friends out to a local outdoor bar just to have a few drinks and celebrate my 21st in an American fashion. Binge drinking! It was Monday night, but I was very pleased with the amount of people that came. It was a good mix of my Ghanaian friends and Obrunis. We tried to teach the Ghanaians how to play flip cup, but then ran out of cups and the restaurant wouldn’t give us extra plastic cups, even though we already bought tons of drinks from them. That’s Ghana for ya.


Then, I got ! Ponding is a Ghanaian tradition where you soak the birthday boy/girl with any liquid. At first I got a few bottles of water on me…which actually felt . Then, a few mix drinks…that was sticky. Next, a full bottle of coke.  Then, as I was straining out my wet shirt into the gutters, I started talking to a group of guys. I explained that it was my “bornday” and I got ponded but I’m glad to get the full experience. Then, this stranger dumped his full beer all over my head. Went back to the bar, bought another one, then sat down. I’m not sure how fast alcohol is absorbed through your scalp and skin…but I was having a pretty time regardless!


At one point, a Ghanaian friend of mine showed up with three of my female Ghanaian friends. Supposedly, at a traditionally Ghanaian birthday party, the host pays for everyone’s drinks. Funny, because I feel like in the states, if it’s your birthday, everyone ELSE buys YOU drinks. Which is usually great…. until you throw up…

When they showed up, he came up to me and told me that I should go buy them drinks and serve the girls who just sat down. I was like, “Nah man…I’m not Ghanaian!” He responded, “but you are IN GHANA!” I refused to buy them drinks, so I just found random cups that looked like they were filled recently and served them. It seemed to suffice.


Then, my friend and I went across the street and tried to bargain for fresh tilapia since it was late and they were about to close. After we realized we weren’t going to get the food for cheap, my friend started yelling “Chalé I go blast on his head!” Which, in Pidgin means “Yo, I took a shit on his head!” Remember I’m soaked in every liquid imaginable. Their reactions were hilarious. Overall it was a great night and a great birthday. I got to speak on the phone with my brother, sister, mother, and father all in a 48 hour span. Plus my grandma, and two cousins! What a blessing! I guess that should buy me a few weeks of no phone calls and just directing everyone to my blog, right?


Alright, time to leave the air conditioned computer lab and go break a sweat within three steps. See you soon!!

Stay classy San Diego!


3 thoughts on “Monkeys, Waterfalls, and turning 21

  1. Happy Ponding,Jeremy!

    We’ll look forward to future pictures of you with your Ghanaian princess and little monkeys!

    Thanks, as always, for the laughs.

    • Thanks! I’m not sure if everyone realizes it, but if you go to the blog website:, as you read you can click certain words that I’ve attached a picture-link to. They should be colored differently. My father gets the blogs e-mailed to him so he hasn’t been able view the pictures that I have been posting. Otherwise, they’re all on facebook, too. Thanks for reading!

      • Now THAT’S a birthday celebration! I’m going to teach my friends all about ponding, so we can all celebrate our “bornday”s in soggy style!

        I so wanted to see monkeys there. Maybe next time ;)


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