What an experience Ghana was. Waiting for the clouds to part outside the airplane window for my first look at this new land, I was filled with so much anticipation and, to be honest, a bit of anxiety for the unknown. Though I have been to North Africa and South Africa, they are quite Westernized, so I didn’t know what to expect from the Gold Coast.
What we found was a truly eye opening experience: a different way of life, a different-looking way of life. The locals were quite beautiful. Void of many Western fashions, it was so refreshing and inspiring to see many of the men, women and children wearing homemade African garb in bright colors and beautiful silhouettes. In the city of Accra where we landed, many of the day-to-day items were sold via an army of human concession stands walking up and down the lanes of traffic: water, socks, fruit, gum, bleach, nuts, towels – you name it, they sold it. The women would carry these large metal bowls on their head with the supplies stacked in giant pyramids, it was truly an amazing sight. Beautiful.
DAY 1: We drove out of Accra along the coast to discover this region of Ghana and take in some of the cultural history that has affected humanity so greatly at such sites as Elimna Castle. I felt very fortunate as I hunched through the “door of no return” looking out on the aggressive ocean waves and the horrific fate of that horizon line for so many. To be able to tie together the motherland to the ancestors that I met only a few months earlier in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, the largest import city of slaves in the West, was very humbling and culturally fascinating.
We explored the seaside, ate plantains and black-eyed peas with the locals. My favorite experience from the entire journey of #DiscoverOrigins around the world was on the beaches of Ghana. We stood and watched local fishermen working together all morning long, towing a line attached to a fishing net the length of a football field with rope, their bare hands and the palm trees lining the shore scarred from so many years of this simple way of life. Together they pulled, clapped, and chanted songs that must have been passed down from generation to generation. It was a sight I’ll never forget; it was one of my greatest discoveries from travel.
DAYA 2: Then it was time to get to work! We met with a botanist who showed us many of the local plant varieties and how they are used in their natural state here in Ghana. At one moment he pulled out this incredibly old book to look up more information about the tree we were deep on the hunt for as our last #DiscoverOrigins ingredient: Anogeissus.
As the sun set on our final destination, I stared outside the airport glass at the night sky enveloping the horizon. Soon, I would be flying beneath the stars across the vast ocean to the place I call home. I thought back on our journey from France, to Australia, and now Ghana, what we learned, what we experienced and how important nature is. Origins really scoured the globe to find the best ingredients for their products and I felt so fortunate to get to discover them in this beautiful planet that never ceases to be amazing…