GHANA – A guest post by Natalie Raffield

The minute my foot exited the plane,  I was hit by a wall of humidity and a smell that I would later yearn for.

Waiting for my bags in a very rudimentary airport, I was struck by how foreign everything seemed and just how far from Africa my heart had found itself. Living for the last 14 years in North America, away from my birthplace, South Africa, I was a little overwhelmed.

Most of all,  why did everyone look like they worked out ALL the time? And the African smiles-how did they smile so wide with such apparent joy and shiny white teeth?

Ghana Smiles!
The beautiful smiles of happy Ghana, Africa!

The next few journeys to Ghana from Accra up to the different mines, following my mining engineering husband around were filled with surprising enjoyment.

The long awful road trips did not bother me, as every turn produced another seemingly perfect National Geographic picture.

: A girl with skin so shiny, and dress so white skipping along the red red road.,

: A man carrying effortlessly a chainsaw on his head!

: Women gathering after church, each dress more stylish than the other, full of all the bright colors of Africa, their attention to detail with matching earrings and headdresses.

: Young people carrying collections of absolutely anything to sell on their heads at traffic stops, yellow soaps; bags of water dripping with condensation; bobbing toy-dog heads; rodents strung up on frames ready to eat,

: Stores with names like, ‘God be Good Dentist’, ‘By Gods Grace shoes’, ‘He is king motors’

: Small goats that belong to everyone and no-one, but can weave between traffic,

And so on and so on.

Ghana Markets
The beauty of the markets in Ghana, Africa.

At first walking through a crowded market,  I took out my giant DSLR,  I aggravated many woman and they were not shy in voicing their discomfort. This confused me as I was being friendly, asking first and buying some things from different stores. I was curious about their anger. I sat down at eye-level with one young lady and started a conversation while she arranged her dried chilies. When I asked her why some woman were chasing me away; she explained that they felt that they had not been given the opportunity to do their hair and sitting at the sweaty market, they were not able to be ready for a portrait.  Ha! Women everywhere worry about the state of their hair.

Visiting Ghana, one can see beautiful oceans, towering jungle trees, community life so vibrant and eat foods found nowhere else in the world, but the most enjoyable experience will be the warmth and interest of the Ghanaians.

Ghana Beauty
Relaxing in Ghana after a day in the hustle and bustle of the city markets.
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