My First Weekend in Accra

Last weekend my fellow California co-workers, Jenn and Nick, and I trekked into Accra to get to know the city a bit. I was connected with a woman from DC through my church back in the District. She was a friend of the extremely charismatic (and handsome) minister, Rob, at my church All Souls, in DC.  She had just moved to Ghana a few months before I did for work. Elizabeth and I had spoken a few times as I prepared and she gave me great tips about what to bring and which malaria pills to take. So we met her for dinner and a drink and she introduced us to her other Obruni friends.


The next day, I laughed when I saw this sign:

Made me a little homesick for DC! So the next day Jenn, Nick and I decided to create an adventure and take a tro-tro to the National Cultural Center where you can bargain down overpriced African art and crafts. Jenn had been there once before and said to expect getting heckled and never offer  more than half of what the sellers ask for.

We hadn’t even walked into the gates when three rasta guys came up to us. They had recongized Jenn from her previous visit. The took us to their drum shop and we had a little drum session:

I have an awesome video of all of us drumming and will insert it once I can figure out how to edit it. The man in the yellow shirt’s name is Jackson, he is from the north and we discovered that we have the same birthday! We were born exactly a year apart. I bought a painting from him and a beautiful mask.

Jackson is at the bottom holding my red sun picture. After we bought our crafts from them they took us to the Accra beach. I had heard it was pretty polluted, but it was quite a sight. On the way there we walked through a small beach village and I have to say it was the first time I have seen a destitute community since I have been here. I saw babies sitting in their own filfth and really unsanitary conditions.

The children were all excited to see white people and gave us all quite forceful highfives:


Finally we got to the beach. The water itself was quite beautiful, dotted with fishing boats and children playing in the waves. The beach itself was a different story.

It was incredible to see the amount of plastic that littered the beach, it makes sense, too when you go back and read my previous post on urban planning issues in Ghana.

After the beach trip we went back to the art market, but not before stopping for some fresh coconut water, ( I still the canned Brian & Amy brand best)…

And then we headed home. Our home is near a giant satellite, you can see in far away in the background of the picture of Nick and Jenn. All in all a pretty successful weekend! More posts to come, stay tuned!



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  1. Doug says:

    Go girl!

  2. Spencer MacDonald says:

    Looks at those peaks in the background! Not stoked on the pollution though. Surfrider should organize a beach clean-up. Looks awesome though. Can’t imagine what it must feel like. Keep the posts coming!

  3. Roz says:

    Love the updates Sy, and your wonderful photos. I think that must be the beach I’d go to as a child in Accra, and I remember it distinctly as pristine and beautiful. What a shame to see it like it is now. Keep your reports and photos coming! :)

  4. Erik says:

    I love it! I’m proud of the good work you’re doing in Ghana. You are on an amazing journey & I appreciate all of your painstaking documentation. I have to admit my favorite photos so far are of the exotic critters at the monkey sanctuary. Please get the locals to keep their ocean clean so I can check out those waves when I come visit. Later. Love. . .E

  5. Harmen Spek says:


    I’m the Communication Officer for the Plastic Soup Foundation http://plasticsoupfoundation.org/
    And we are organizing a great event in november with international celebrities (Charles Moore, Marcus Eriksen, Anna Cummins…)
    For this event we need good photographic material for exhibition purposes and print work I saw the photo with your feet and and plastic on the beach.

    Is there a possibility that we can get this pictures in high-res for free use. (non-commercial)
    The Plastic Soup is becoming the biggest environmental problem in the world and we need as much help as we can.
    We would really appreciate If you want to co-operate.

    With kind regards,

    Harmen Spek
    Adviseur Communicatie

    M: 06-12232081
    E: harmen@plasticsoupfoundation.org
    W: http://plasticsoupfoundation.org

    Plastic Soup Foundation / administratie
    Postbus 4019
    5604 EA Eindhoven

    Plastic Soup Foundation / kantoor
    Ferdinand Huyckstraat 36
    1061 HW Amsterdam

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