8 MORE Things we LOVED in Ghana (highlights from our second week)

Last week, I wrote about 9 things we LOVED our first week in Ghana, which ended up being more popular than I thought I would be. Happy surprise.

A lot of people who follow this blog do so because they’re interested in Japan – especially the ins and outs of living in Japan as an American girl married to a Japanese fella. Naturally, any post I do that doesn’t have the “Japan” theme isn’t quite as popular, which used to deter me from writing about anything non-Japan related… but I decided during the New Year that is my blog and I want to write about the things I want to write about (regardless of how many views they might get).

Basically, I’m having a great time in Ghana and I want to share with y’all.

To my surprise, other people were just as interested in Ghana. So the Ghana posting will continue.

Today marks week two (of three) in Ghana. Some of the highlights of this week are:

1. Eating Raw Cacao Pods

I confess, I hadn’t tried raw cacao pods until this trip to Ghana. We saw an old woman selling cacao pods off the side of the road during one of our (many) road trips, so dad pulled off to the side of the road and we bought one (for 2 Ghana cedis – about $0.50).

The inside looks like this:

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We sliced it open with a knife and sucked the white flesh off the nibs. I was skeptical (and scared) – but it tasted a lot like pomegranate.

Dad swears it wasn’t fresh enough – so we’re going to look for another street vendor next time we’re near a cacao farm because “once you have raw cacao flesh, your life will never be the same.”

2. Road trips – driving through the countryside & road trip snuggles

Neither Ryosuke nor I have a license in Ghana so it was my parents doing all the driving – but I had a blast people watching as we drove for hours all over the country.

When I wasn’t camped out in the front seat being the DJ with my iPod, I was in the back snuggling with my husband. This photo was taken in Hohoe on the way to mountain climbing.

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3. Epic wave jumping at the beach

The waves in Ghana are enormous. And quite frankly, scary.

In 2008, my dad suffered an awful injury while wave jumping (which he wrote about on his blog, here) and since then, none of us go very deep. The adrenaline rush is not worth the extra risk.

Not to mention the fact that the rip currents (often doing two directions at once) can drag you out to sea in a couple of minutes if you’re not paying attention.

Before I let him get in the ocean, I gave my husband an extensive lesson on what to do if you get pulled out to sea but a rip current (swim parallel to the beach until you’re out of it, then swim back to shore).

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Dangers aside, I love wave jumping because it makes me feel powerless.

When a wave approaches, you have to decide whether to try to jump over it or to dive beneath it. You have half a second to decide which approach to take, depending on where you are and what stage the wave is in.

I love that feeling as the water pushes and pulls at your body in every direction – as the wave breaks over (or under) you.

And every once in a while you pick wrong and get smashed into the sand bank as the wave crashes over you – but that’s part of the fun too.

4. Cooking lessons – learning how to make groundnut soup from scratch

A Ghanaian family friend came over this weekend and taught Ryosuke and I how to make groundnut soup.

Finally, finally, finally!

I can’t wait to make this for dinner parties when we get back to Japan.

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5. Meeting new people who are doing interesting things with their life

Living in Japan feels like a bubble sometimes.

The problems I have feel like uniquely “Japan problems”  – and at the time it feels like the end of the world. I get so worked up over it and since the people I talk to can relate to these “Japan problems,” it becomes easy to forget that I’m living in a bubble.

Which is why I think travelling is so important.

There’s something that I won’t go into here that has been driving me crazy and wrecking my self-esteem for the last… 7 months now? 8 months? Every time I think about it, I get angry. And feel hurt.

Being in Ghana has removed me from that “Japan bubble.” The two weeks here have given me the space and ability to take a step back and see the big picture.

Ryosuke and I have been able to come up with a strategy to tackle this problem when I get back to Japan and I’m feeling so much better about it now.

Sorry for all the vague-ness.

Once I’ve resolved this problem and can figure out a way to diplomatically talk about it (and turn it into a blogging experience) I might, but for now… no.

Meeting different international students on the Ashesi campus has been wonderful for Ryosuke and I – it’s so much fun to meet folks with a passion to change the world. I feel so inspired.

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This week was international week on Ashesi campus, so the cultural differences have been more pronounced.

21% of students on campus are non-Ghanaian, representing 19 countries (including Trinidad, Kenya, USA, China, and the rest of continental Africa – Southern, Eastern, and West).

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6. Doing tourist-y things with my husband

Life with Ryosuke is many things – boring is not one of them.

He’s fun to travel with. Even when he’s doing ridiculous things like pouring expired purewater packets on himself to keep cool (I swear this boy does not have the ability to feel embarrassed).

As you can see from the picture below, I am so done.

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7. The random wildlife

Not even joking, while I was eating breakfast a peacock came up right behind me and just stared at me.

Was it wild? Was it domestic?

Who knows.

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8. Hiking up the tallest mountain in Ghana (Mt. Afadjato)

All 850 meters of it.

You can tell this was the “before” photo because none of us are drenched in sweat or look ready to pass out.

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by the way, the lovely couple we’re traveling with are my parents~

About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

15 Comments on 8 MORE Things we LOVED in Ghana (highlights from our second week)

  1. I loved this post! It was so interesting to read! Reading about your adventures is something I really enjoy and just reading your posts motivates me to pursue my own ambitions and dreams! So once again, thank you for sharing, it is most certainly appreciated. You too look very happy and seems you had loads of fun, makes me happy to see that. Hope everything goes well with what you were trying to work out. (^ w ^*)

  2. Expired packets of water?
    How does water “expire”?

  3. There is a life outsideJapan ! Breakfast with a peacock can it get better than this :)

  4. Aubrey Marshall // 12 April, 2016 at 3:58 am //

    You should post the soup recipe here (or lemme know on fb)!! It looks so delicious!!

  5. I’ll admit, I started reading your blog due to my interest in Japan(at the time I was planning a trip), but I continue reading because I enjoy what you have to say. I enjoy reading your posts regardless of whether it’s about japan or not now, so keep writing about whatever you feel. I wish you luck with your issue and all future endeavours, and I will always be a fan and continue to read your blog.
    P.s. I’m a huge fan of cacao, especially raw, and look forward to your impressions.

  6. miranda // 6 April, 2016 at 3:26 pm //

    Thank you for sharing how beautiful my country mother Ghana , am always proud of my country , love you guys nnnn,ma

  7. I’m happy to read that you are enjoying Ghana!

    In your writing, you have a very honest voice, especially on the struggles of living in Japan. Can you write a post or film a video on how Japan is a bubble? It would be nice to hear your insights on how Japan is a challenge for you.

  8. Bonosus Kanoseh // 6 April, 2016 at 8:00 am //

    Wonderful experience from Ghana, there is a lot more that u may not have come across but thanks a bunch for advertising my beloved country. This could especially be wrapped up with some charity work for some deprived kids and widows in some communities in Ghana.

  9. I must confess I’ve felt the Japan-post stress recently…
    These last few weeks I’ve been posting about my experience applying for an English teaching job in Japan as a non-native English teacher, and my blog views have gone through the roof! However, I decided to post about my short trip back home to Portugal and I went back to the same views I had to start with.
    But hey, what I love to do is writing about travelling around the world and exploring London (where I currently live) so whatever! We’re not really doing it for the views (although it is very tempting) but for the pleasure of sharing stories and experiences with people from around the world!
    I’ve found your Ghana posts extremely interesting! I’ve been to Africa (to Botswana and Cape Town), but it was when I was 13 years-old and it was a very touristy experience.
    My father was actually born in Mozambique, as it used to be a Portuguese colony until not that long ago, and he’s always wanted to go back and show us where he’s from, but due to political stress and other reasons we’ve never been able to! Hopefully we will have the chance to do it at some point.

  10. Yay for blogging about unpopular things! I love your posts about Ghana – although I travel a lot, I have little clue about Sub-Saharan Africa and your insights are so amazing, it’s not really a country the average travel blogger would write about. Did you guys have to get any specific vaccinations etc to go there? Would you share your recipe for groundnut soup (maybe in a video)?

  11. Rip currents are a real nasty thing and too many dont know how to act once they get pulled away from the beach. Though I am an excellent swimmer myself I would have troubles getting back even with all the knowledge I have about it…

  12. Sounds like an absolutely fabulous time and oh so interesting. I would love to try raw cacao pods, doubt that will happen anytime soon. So thrilled you are both having a great time.

  13. Richard // 5 April, 2016 at 7:49 pm //

    Thanks for sharing some of your experiences in Ghana! What wonderful and poignant memories you will have of the time with Ryosuke and your parents.

    Isn’t it inspiring to be on a college campus?!? I love auditing university classes here in California because I get to learn new things AND to be among young people who want to change the world and to go places in life. With 21% of the students there from different countries the opportunities for learning are boundless.

    We will be going to Hawaii in June. I will ask about and watch for rip tides when we go into the ocean!

    I hope the solution you hit upon with Ryosuke to your ‘problem’ in Japan works out. I look forward to reading about a success after you have overcome it.

    Best wishes….

  14. I really want to hear when you have the chance to taste the fresh chocolate pods :) wishing you can get over the issue you’re facing..

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