In efforts to avoid a long bus ride, Sonya and I caught a ride with Kofi, a new contact who was driving from Kumasi to Tamale to drop off a medical student. Along the way, we stopped in Techiman so Kofi could meet “briefly” with a local chief about setting up homestays for an undergrad summer research trip. The meeting followed typical Ghanaian form, with the chief leading us into his living room, turning on the TV in the background, and waiting to ask Kofi who he was and why he had decided to come by until after glasses of Coca-cola, Fanta, and Star Beer had been passed around. Finding a place to stay in Tamale turned out to be a bit of a challenge after realizing that Ghana’s recent change in area codes made every single phone number in our guidebook incorrect. After a bit of resourcefulness, we ended up hitting the budget hotel jackpot with a guesthouse run by the Tamale Institute of Cross Cultural Studies.
The chairs lining the central garden courtyard (complete with a swing!) are occupied by young people volunteering for unite for sight or working for local NGOs and the breezy “jungle bar” serves a surprising normal tasting cheeseburger. Of course, our first night in Tamale wasn’t without a few power outages and visits from an odd collection of lizards, cats, and an oversized slug.