The journey from Accra to Kumasi (another prominent city in Ghana) is about a 2 hour drive. However, there is traffic. Quite a bit of it in fact. It took us about 5 hours to reach Kwame Nkrumah University of Science in Technology in Kumasi. We had hoped to hit the road at 5:30 am to beat the heaviest morning traffic.We ended up leaving Accra at around 7:30 am. The best laid plans, am I right?
It should come as no surprise that leaving so early in the morning left most of us pretty tired. The bus ride was pretty quiet as many of us tried to catch some shut-eye. Those of us who managed to stay awake saw Ghana’s rural villages. Quite distinct from the city, these rural communities reveal a lot about the country’s agricultural system and traditional heritage. On the side of the road, vendors sold bowls made to prepare “fufu,” the traditional West African starch dish. Other than that, the route was dotted with Ghanaian homes and crop fields. Most of the road was not paved, making it quite a bumpy road. However, it appears there is some major construction being down by Chinese contractors to build a paved highway. Maybe next time we’re in Ghana, the ride will be smoother.
Once we were about halfway to Kumasi, we stopped at a rest stop to refuel (both the bus and our bodies). There were some great snacks to be had, including meat pies and ginger biscuits. Two hours later, we reached the University, and enjoyed a lecture by the great Dr. Richard Ackam. A distinguished Art professor, Dr. Ackam has a long history with our winter break seminar, and has even visited Carleton twice. Dr. Ackram spoke about Western misperceptions that fail to consider diversity in African art. He encouraged us to think broader about the possibilities for art in Africa, and not view a piece with a “third eye.” In stead, Dr. Ackam wants us to look for art that appeals to our sensibilities. As an added treat, Dr. Ackam treated us to a collection of paintings he will be exhibiting this coming year at the City University of New York! His paintings were beautiful, and he really was enthusiastic when meeting with us.
After Dr. Ackam’s speech, the group got our first real experience with “fufu” during dinner. I know I enjoyed it, but some were less thrilled. Regardless, it was nice to relax after a long day. We haven’t seen much of Kumasi yet, but there seems to be much less hustle and bustle than in Accra. Guess you’ll have to take a look at Justin’s blog post to find out what happens next!