The last day of the Ghana PG Festival was a bit of a let down….literally..the wind blew down the mountain with the occasional calm mixed in with the “faker” cycle up the hill!!! I felt launch conditions were tough enough when the wind blew up the hill so I wasn’t to excited about running off in those conditions. There were just a few brave souls, the gung ho pilots flew while the rest of hoped and waited for better conditions to launch in. The weather just didn’t cooperate. I wish we could have flown all the people that were waiting in line to fly…they were so excited.
That evening we had some time so a bunch of us ventured into the town center for a cultural experience. I loved wondering around the market and checking everything out from clothes, sandals made from car tires, spices being ground up to sell, dead “things” of all shapes and sizes to eat if you dare. Pretty much anything one would need you found there.
And then…the sky decided to open up and show who’s boss….it went from a few dark clouds to half the sky turning black. We new what was coming so we ran to flag down a taxi, jumped in and the wall of wind hit. It blew hard then came the rain as we drove back to the hotel…..wahooo!
I love watching mother nature let loose! I was not alone as we ran upstairs of the hotel to get to the outside balcony to watch the storm unfold. We had a great view of the landing zone across the street…the flag was sticking straight out!!! J
The next day, our rest day of course looked perfect for flying! So after a leisurely morning we ventured up the hill to fly. A couple of us got off the bus to make a quick stop at the Village of Hope school project, to see what their needs were and check out the “bus that needs some work”. But first while we waited for our ride we wandered into a little neighborhood off the main street and we were soon stopped by a family and friends. They were all so welcoming and happy to try to talk to us. It was such a sweet time with them of course there was a language barrier…but it just didn’t matter!
Our visit with the school went well….we toured the school and took a look at the bus that needed some work. After a quick look we decided it would not be a good idea to invest any money in helping with that project but thought building another room to add to the school was a better idea. I look forward to going back next year to see the progress.
My last flight in Ghana was a tandem flight with Nick Greece since we were up on launch with perfect conditions and no passengers. It’s not a good idea to fly our tandem wings alone so we flipped a coin to see “who’s boss”….I could not believe how scared I was to be the passenger J ha ha ha….What a flight, it was magical we could fly anywhere and we did. We flew around the valley at cloud base and enjoyed it completely!!! That is until Nick said “are you ready for some fun” I thought I was but…but…I guess I like being in control better!!!
That evening we had a bit of a ride from h***….a bunch of us that had a few extra days to travel and relax chose to head to the beach. Thanks to Ed, Nick and Frode who organized transportation for us. We were off in two separate vehicles traveling at warp speeds thru these villages and narrow streets while not moving an inch for the people walking along the road. It was pretty scary!! We all started asking the driver to slow down right away but he would not listen for some reason. It took NICK to get the point across…I was impressed how well Nick handled the situation!!! THANK YOU NICK!!!
We arrived at the beach, all thankful to be alive!! I swear it took me two full days to get over that ride!!! Busua Beach was a sleepy little tourist destination. Surfing and relaxing being the main attraction.
After one night at the huge tourist type hotel I knew I wanted something a bit more organic. A few of us ventures away and found a place called “Stone Wonderland Lodge” . It is a sweet little place tucked away at the other end of the beach from the big hotel. We had to cross the river to get to it, I loved it!!!
We spent the next three days unwinding, hanging out, walking the beach, eating great meals, listening to good music and of course trying our hand at surfing!!! We met “Brett” the local transplant from the UK. He owns and runs “Mr Brights Surf School”. He was an X competitor himself so we were like kindred spirits in a way. He was great with us newbie’s. We went thru his ground school training then off we went into the surf like good little students. He gave us very specific things to work on that followed a perfect progression to get us to the point of standing on the board. It was great fun!!! Pictures to follow….
What a great way to end a great trip! The night before we left Busua the rain came in with a vengeance. The start of the monsoon, it was time to leave! A muddy trip out of there, a long hot Cho Cho bus ride back to Accra (Cho–chos are the Ghanaian form of public transportation: unmarked vans that go from here to there, picking up passengers whenever flagged) a taxi ride to the Hotel where we were greeting by our master Collins. Boy was it good to see him again!!! He took us to the market for last minute souvenirs.
Pack, shower, dinner then off to the airport for me….some 36 hours later I was home….my head spinning with memories along with fighting a wicked cold I caught right at the end….ah the price to pay for having fun!!! It was all worth it!!!
People have asked what I liked the most. I have to say it was the children, their beautiful little faces, their smiles and their spirit. They were so curious and interested in what we were doing and us for that matter. They would look so serious until you “smile” then they would light up…I just loved this about them! I made a point while driving by children to wave smile and get their attention…it was so much fun to see them smile , wave and blow kisses back. I am thrilled to be able to help these kids in any small way!
Thanks to ALL that donated to help some children in Ghana!
The fun continued over the next four days. It was a blur of excitement! We settled into a sweet morning routine at the hotel before charging up the hill to fly each day. I dared to try the coffee again a few days later surprised to find that it was drinkable…YIPEE!!! I remember thinking “note to self, bring coffee next year!” It was nice catching up with the pilots that were early risers. We chatted about the days events, the country they were from and future plans. I felt there was never enough time for this type of connection with the amazing group of pilots gathered for this event.
We flew each day in a furry to try to accommodate the huge line of passengers waiting their turn. It was so much fun to connect with each and everyone as much as we could…to share what we were doing there and to find out what they were all about as well.
From the stories floating around from different pilots there seem to be no end of interesting people to fly with. A few of the pilots had interesting tandem connections with people that were in the area working for different charity organizations. Two of these leads brought these organizations to our hotel equipped with presentations to plead their case . It was their hope that the money we raised through the Cloudbase Foundation might be directed towards their cause.
It was an interesting process as an observer new to all of this, to see how it all plays out. They present and appeal. We listen, learn and ask many questions. They all go away and we discuss what our mission is and see if and what fits into our criteria…which is helping the children in the immediate areas of the flying site. These relationships we want to build on year after year. We want to be able to see what’s been done with the money a year later. For instance we donated money to go towards a water tank with S.O.S. Orphanage last year. We visited the orphanage this year and there it was a new water tank complete with the Cloudbase Foundation Banner proudly displayed!!! It was awesome to see how appreciated it was!!!
Here is what we came up with….
1) Village of Hope
1 classroom, US$4,654.00 is the approximate estimate they gave us when visiting, after checking their list.
2) Peace Corps Volunteer: Bethany Marchwinski
1 Water Tanks for her School, each tank is US$1,800
3) S.O.S. Orphanage (aka Bless the Children)
US$3,000 for general needs
4) Original Volunteers /Aqua filter by the Cleadon Rotary Club
3 community water filters at a cost of GBP200 or about US$327
(important to note they are not the family/personal filters, but the community)