One of the funniest things I hear all week was a Ghanaian man that asked me where I was from. I told him that I was from America, then he started naming major cities like New York City, Los Angeles, then I responded and said I was from Arkansas he chuckled. Then went on to inform me that he had never heard of Arkansas, however made it a point to refer to it as ‘Hicksville’ when I told him that it was in the south.

To me that was a prime example of the southern stereotype that her persisted all of these years. The idea that people from the south are country, and just short of uncivilized. I just chuckled a little on the inside though because I found it more intriguing than offensive.

Animals, plant life, and the environment are major factors and aspects of Ghanaian life. Everywhere you look there are domesticated animals around. Cats and dogs are few and far in between but there is an abundance of goats, cows/bulls, and sheep.

When it comes to the environment Ghanaians are very careful about how they take care of their land, and are never wasteful. Even at the shea butter plant when the shea is getting boiled down the access isn’t just thrown out, it is used to help fertilize the ground. There is a perception of Africa that Africans are wasteful and not mindful of the world around them.



The first stop

we made was at

Mole National

Park. After I got

over the initial

shock of not

having wifi I

found that it

was so

refreshing to be

in the midst of

nature like

that. We went on an early morning hike where we saw elephants and antelope, and really got to see the landscape of the place. We even went on a rooftop jeep safari ride. It was amazing.


We went to the home/workplace of a man that took care of goat. From him we learned about the different types of goats and the amenities that they provide. I was shocked to find out that male goats cost more than female goats, even though female goats have reproduction ability. While we were there we learned that they reason there were so many goats, sheep, etc. just roaming around was because they belonged to someone and stealing is a major offense that could cost an individual their life.



IMG_2367We visited Aburi Botanical

Gardens. There were so many

interesting flora and fauna.

There was a preserved shea

butter tree, a tree that hard bark

that was used to extract

cinnamon from, also small

plants that close when you touch

them. There were ant hills taller

than 2 of me, and twisty trees

that were completely hollow on

the inside.




We also visited Kakum National Park, where we took a slight hike up a hill and then walked a rope bridge. While we were walking our tour guide was telling us about how the size of the park is large but is steadily shrinking, and he put a large emphasis on the importance of preservation. It seemed so bright on the floor of the park and I was shocked to learn that only about 1% of the sunlight is making down to the bottom of the park floor.



IMG_1654I have never been as

close to a crocodile

as I was to the ones

at Hans Crocodile

Cottage. Here at the

cottage they have

trained crocodiles, I


must have been feeling very adventurous because I actually douched one. The skin was soft but still like that of a reptile. There also were some very beautiful small birds that were actively building nests the entire time that we were there.



The beaches were gorgeous, but trash seemed to be a major problem. On some coasts with every wave trash and debris would be washed to shore with each wave. But Ghana recognizes this and has started a recycling effort.



~Kristen Phantazia

“Perception is reality, and reality is in my world there is no black and white, only shades of K…”

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