This weekend, I spent the most amazing time in Akosombo with my BFFFL (Best Friend For Frikkin’ Life!), Nana Darkoa. Her Rotary club was conducting a 5K sponsored walk to benefit children. What those benefits were, I do not know, because there was no mention of them. What there was was a convoy of Ghana’s police force, a pick up truck with 4 loud speakers jamming local tunes like “Kpalogo y3d3” , about 50 walkers and an air conditioned bus that trailed behind us should anyone pass out from heat exhaustion or dehydration. I have never walked 5 kilometers, and I pray to God that I never find myself in a situation where I will need to again. It’s FAR.
The girls came along with me because my father had made plans for the weekend. After our beach trip to T’di, Nadjah was itching to stay in another hotel with room service, so she was really glad to come along. Aya is generally happy to do whatever Nadjah is happy to do, and Liya could care less as long as she is fed and has a place to lay her head. The 5000 mile walk ended at a lake side cafe, where the Rotary club had arranged a catered lunch of jollof, banku, kenkey, fried rice, beer and anything else one would need to recover from walking the distance of Earth to Mars. Nadjah forced her friendship on a group of little girls who had also accompanied their parents, and touched snails that were crawling lazily over the foliage. Elderly ladies cooed over Liya, and for a while, I was free to enjoy my lunch. It was an awesome day.
My BFFFL had reserved rooms for us to stay over at Aylo’s Bay, which I hear is the oldest resort at Akosombo. It has about 10 chalets that dot the property, with loads of flowers and ancient trees providing a canopy. Nadjah was immediately disappointed that we were not in a “proper” hotel.
“Awww!!” she groaned. “I wanted to go to a real hotel. This isn’t a real hotel. Are they gonna bring us breakfast? Where is the TV…”
Nana had gone to great trouble and expense to put us up, and after walking for half the day, I was not in the mood for ingratitude and griping.
“Shut your face and close the door before you let mosquitos in,” I commanded. “This is where we’re staying, so say thank you and like it.”
Apparently, Nadjah and her godmother were of the same mind. Nana had also hoped that the resort would provide more commodities…like air conditioning. The rooms had a shower, kitchen area and a table to eat at. The amenities were very basic. For my part, I had merely hoped for a place large enough to store me and my brood for the night. As I scoped out the bed, I knew it was going to be a long night. I felt myself weaken inwardly.
The queen size bed in the room was fitted with floral sheets and had a massive mosquito net that hung above it. The wicker furniture was lacquered over, making it appear glossy in the sunlight that filtered through windows covered with batik curtains. Outside of our rooms, a view of the Volta river greeted us. An added bonus was a dock that led to a floating dining area (that the girls imagined was a pirate ship) where we had dinner and drinks with the girls. By the time dusk rolled around, a sudden tropical rain was swishing our pirate ship up and down like a twig lost at sea. Aya lost a flip flop in the excitement. Nadjah then declared that she was really happy to be there.
“Thank you for bringing me here Mommy!” she said in appreciation.
We had showered earlier after the walk, and after the girls had tired themselves with play, we prepared to go sleep. I stacked the girls in bed to their comfort and tried to find space for myself. I couldn’t sleep. As midnight approached, I realized what was keeping me up:
1) I had wicked diarrhea from the spaghetti that the girls had shunned earlier, and it was running its course through me. AND
2) Aylo’s Bay is good for one thing: Shagging.
There I was, under this white billowing mosquito net in a bed that was meant for a man and a woman (NOT 3 kids), looking up at the ceiling and feeling very “some way.” I needed a man, preferably my husband, to share this experience with. My frustration at my situation was only further aggravated when I remembered that one of my fantasies is a night of intimacy under a mosquito net – and when Aya gave me a swift kick in the back as she slept to reinforce that there would be NO intimacy tonight!
The next morning, Nana and I agreed on our perception of Aylo’s Bay’s use, and swore to make use of that purpose on our own (individual) time.
A friend of mine (who has asked not to be named in this post) surprised us the next morning at breakfast and arranged a canoe ride for the girls and I. We drove to the opposite side of the river, where a man named ‘Crocrodile’ rowed up in a red canoe 10 minutes after we made our request. He wore a page boy cap, aviator shades, a Samsung jersey and reeked of gin. Most mothers would refuse to allow their 4 and 5 year old kids to get into a precariously constructed canoe with a man who smelled like he just crawled out of a Johnny Walker bottle, but I ushered them into the wooden structure with as much confidence as I could muster. Aya held my hand in fear the entire length of the boat ride, while Nadjah dipped her hand into the lake a yelled “Woohoo!!!” for no reason whenever she deemed it appropriate. The Volta lake was the most beautiful emerald green that day. On the surface it looked calm, but beneath us I saw swirling under currents that held up to the lore of the region. They were indeed violent enough to sweet you under and capture your corpse as ransom. Among the beauty of the Volta was filth as well, as random Voltic water bottles floated by us as well as the evidence of prostitution and hookery – An empty bottle of Skin Light cream hung onto the grassy shore.
We ended our day with the purchase pf roasted plantain and groundnuts for cheap. Jill Scott carried us all the way home. It was truly an amazing weekend for us girls.
“Next time we come to Ghana, I want us to stay here,” Nadjah said.
Oh…I know I will. Aylo’s Bay? Hmmm. You, I’m coming back for you, and your mosquito net!