Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Travel Essay Contest -- Entry 18

I Must Be Off! is having its first annual Travel Essay Contest. Each entry will appear at first without byline or bio. These will be added at the end of the contest. As you enjoy these travel essays from around the world, please feel free to comment; but if you offer criticism, remember to be positive. These writers are my guests.

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My First Travel Outside The Greater Accra Region of Ghana
by Prince Fiadzigbe

I reside in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana, a country in West Africa. Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Togo and the Gulf of Guinea, to the west, north, east and south respectively. Ghana is one of the largest cocoa producers in the world and home to Lake Volta, the largest artificial lake in the world by surface area.

The Greater Accra Region is the smallest of Ghana's 10 administrative regions in terms of area and the second most populated region, after the Ashanti Region in terms of population. It harbors the seat of government in the capital city of Accra.

My first travel outside the Greater Accra Region of Ghana came when I secured admission into the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti Region after my Senior Secondary school education as was the custom within the educational sector here. No Senior Secondary school graduate would want to miss out on the chance of university education as this opportunity afforded the individual prestige and commanded a certain respect.

I was a day student in Secondary school. I was often bored seeing the same people over and over again.

Going to the university was a big chance for me to get boredom away, get to meet people from the length and breadth of Ghana and also mingle.

I set two days aside for visiting family and friends telling them about my university admission and ask that they bid me farewell. They realized I was leaving for months away and so blew my mind.

I got food items and supplies from these people. I kept on smiling and thanking them. I needed all those food items, clothing and shoes they gave. Did I say some of my family relations travelled from the other parts of the country to come and donate? Oh well, Uncles and Aunties came with Nieces and Nephews, Grandpa came with Grandma too! I had a big family.

I still remember the pack of ground Cassava I received from an old woman I was fond of. Small though to her, I fed on it all through my first semester.

I packed on the final day. I had earlier in the day ironed the clothes I was taking along. It was tiring. I slept that night in eager expectation of the break of dawn. I was asleep yet wide awake. My phone’s alarm went off at 4:15 am. My dad and I hurriedly prepared. We got ready in time and caught a taxi too. As if we had booked the driver the night before, although it was not so, he pulled over the second we got to the roadside. We got in and within half an hour, we reached the bus terminal. My dad went to get the ticket as I joined a queue.

When he brought the ticket and gave it to me, my eyes were filled with tears as fond memories of what lovable family I was leaving behind came into my mind. He asked how I felt. I told him I did not want to go. We embraced.

“My regards to Mum and everyone," I told him. We parted and I entered the bus.
Inside the bus was chilling. It got full early.

It was a busy Monday morning with its characteristic traffic jam. Everybody was going to work and those that could only afford a walk to a car did so briskly. We spent close to an hour in traffic!

Leaving Accra with its beautiful sights and sounds was an experience for me. The sky had fluffy white clouds gathered together which made way when the sun appeared. We passed through overpasses and interchanges, used roads that were under construction and also at times showed up on tarred roads.

It was a long journey for me. I had not sat in a bus for five hours continuously before. There were sceneries and the big towns had vendors displaying their merchandises. I bought a loaf of bread.

Halfway through, we had a rest stop. I got down and stretched my legs, took a stroll and returned. We continued the journey and there was no stopping till we got to our destination. I slept in the bus. I was tired. I pulled my seat backward and lay feeling cozy and undisturbed. It was an enjoyable sleep with the bus’s air-conditioner blowing on my head. I woke up when I wanted to pee not noticing it was nearing nightfall. The driver stopped by a convenient place so I did this. Immediately I got down, others also got down to do the same. What a scene it was.

As we finally continued the journey, I stayed awake all through. I saw post offices, banks, market centers and schools in the towns and districts we passed through. I noticed particularly, how well planned these places were compared to Accra.

Now, I really wanted to be in Kumasi. There were forests and greeneries all over giving the places we passed through a fresh natural smell. At a point, most of the people in the bus started placing calls and eagerness was written all over their faces. I got anxious and when I asked a guy he told me we were almost at our destination. My excitement quickly heightened.

Within the next thirty minutes or so, people started getting down at various bus stops. The bus came screeching as we got to the very last bus stop. Outside, there were men waiting on us to get our luggage as their taxis were parked close by.

I got down, went to identify my luggage and took a taxi. Funny enough, we argued over the fare till I got to the hall of residence where I will be staying through my first semester.
All in all, coming to the school was worth it and getting to meet other people made this experience even more thrilling.

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Prince Fiadzigbe, a 21-year-old BSc, is an agriculture student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in the heart of the Ashanti Region in Ghana. He is from a family of five. His hobbies are surfing the internet and studying. He does research during his leisure time.


RESULTS OF THE CONTEST ANNOUNCED ON JULY 20!