Home
2002
Current Trip
Favorite Photos
2003
Germany 2004
Africa 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                   

The highlight of our 2006 travels, and perhaps the last twenty years, was our three week trip to Africa to visit with our son Jon, who is serving in the Peace Corps in Ghana. 

Ghana is situated on the southern coast of the West African bulge and is bordered to the east by Togo, to the west by the Ivory Coast, to the south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and northwest by Burkina Fasso.

The coastline consists mostly of a low sandy, foreshore behind which stretches the coastal plain, except in the west where the forest comes down to the sea. The forest belt, which extends northward from the western coast and then eastward into Ashanti for about 170 miles, is broken up into heavily wooded hills and steep ridges. North of the forest is undulating savanna drained by the Black Volta and White Volta rivers, which join and flow south to the sea through a narrow gap in the hills. Ghana's highest point is 2,9000 feet in a range of hills on the eastern border. Apart from the Volta, only the Pra and the Ankobra rivers permanently pierce the sand dunes, most of the other rivers terminate in brackish lagoons. There are no natural harbors. 

The climate is tropical but relatively mild for the latitude. Climatic differences between various parts of the country are affected by the sun's journey north or south of the equator and the corresponding position of the intertropical convergence zone, the boundary between the moist southwesterly winds and the dry northeasterly winds. Except in the north, there are two rainy seasons, from April to June and from September to November. In the north squalls occur in March and April, followed by occasional rain until August and September, when the rainfall reaches its peak.

Temperatures range between 70F - 90F (21C and 32C), relative humidity between 50% and 80%. Rainfall ranges from 30 to 80 inches a year. The harmattan, a dry desert wind, blows from the northeast from December to March lowering the humidity and causing hot day and cool nights in the north. The effect of this wind is felt in the south during January. In most areas, temperatures are highest in March and lowest in August after the rains. Variation between day and night temperatures is relatively small, but greater in the north, especially in January. 

Ghanians come from six main ethnic groups: the Akan (Ashanti and Fanti), the Ewe, the Ga-Adangbe, the Mole-Dagbani, the Guan, and the Gurma.

Ashanti Tribe
The Ashanti tribe of the Akan are the largest tribe in Ghana and one of the few matrilineal societies in West Africa. Once renown for the splendour and wealth of their rulers, they are most famous today for their craft work, particularly their hand-carved stools and fertility dolls and their colorful kente cloth. Kente cloth is woven in bright, narrow strips with complex patterns; it's usually made from cotton and is always woven outdoors, exclusively by men.

The village is a social as well as an economic unit. Everyone participates in the major ceremonies, the most frequent of which are funeral celebrations which typically last several days. Attendance at funerals is normally expected from everyone in the village and expenditure on funerals is a substantial part of the household budget.

The Ashanti are noted for their expertise in a variety of specialized crafts. These include weaving, wood carving, ceramics, and metallurgy. Of these crafts, only pottery-making is primarily a female activity; the others are restricted to male specialists. Even in the case of pottery-making, only men are allowed to fashion pots or pipes representing anthropomorphic or zoomorphic figures.

 

This page was last edited on 03/3/2007