Traveling and experiencing peoples culture run in the family. My mother travelled the length and breadth of Ghana to be abreast with the diverse culture we have in Ghana. She had stories to tell me about her trips. It was one of her trips to Tsarley Kope and Azizanya (Azizanya means village at the edge of the estuary), she told me about the story of a river meeting the sea and making this energetic noise. According to her (ibid), which was told by the locals of the island, ghosts queued at the Aziza (Estuary) to transition to the land of the ancestors.
She said the ghosts wore white garments and came from all parts of Ghana, no matter the tribe, religion, language and profession. Ha!!! That must be a long queue, I sighed. After traveling miles to the Aziza for a peaceful passing, they have to wait again? I asked her in disbelief. She could only smirk.
They held on at Aziza for three (3) days. Those who were able to stand the test of time and were patient to tolerate the dilly-dally were asked to return to their families as living beings. Laughable, right? They also believed Aziza was the end of the sea.
Growing up, I passed this information down to my friends and other family members who cared to listen. Secondly, I wanted to unravel the mystery behind the Aziza (Estuary) and to know what Ada has to offer us.
What better way to experience this, than with friends. There are so many things to say about how amazing traveling with friends are;
“Life was meant for good friends and great adventure”- Unknown.
“There is an unspoken bond you create with the friends you travel with”- Kristen Sarah.
“Friends that travel together stay together”- Unknown.
Our first stopover was the Songhor lagoon located on the eastern coast of Ghana, West Africa. It covers an area of 28,740 hectares, located at Sege just outside the major town of Ada and to the west of the Volta River Estuary.
The lagoon is a natural reserve that produces salt. A wonderful site owned by the Adibiawe, Tepkerbiawe, Lomobiawe, Kaabiawetsutsu, Danbiawe, Kabiawekpono, Kudzragbe, Korgbo, Ohuewem and Kaabiaweyumu (These are the various clan heads).
It serves as an economic benefit for the indigenes. It also offer visitors the opportunity to witness locals engage in their livelihood activity.
Visitors can watch the stages of salt production from inducing saltwater from the ocean into pans to crystallization when it dries to washing and packing the salt into bags. For all your quality salt, look no further. Sege is a beautiful town with amazing and hospitable people.
We visited the Kasseh market, the biggest market in Ada. One can get all foodstuffs like plantain, cassava, yam, potatoes, tomatoes, onions (both white and shallots), garlic, garden eggs, eggplants, turkey berries and obviously Ada salt. If you are a seafood and freshwater fish lover, Ada is the place to buy your shrimp, oyster, lobster, tilapia, catfish, mudfish, electric eel and sole fish. One can get the tilapia and sole fish either, fresh, dried, smoked or salted. Fruits like pineapples, watermelons, oranges and the like can be bought at cheaper prices. Market days are Tuesdays and Fridays. Oh!!! If you forget to buy any of the foodstuffs mentioned above from the market, do not worry, roadside vendors along the road got you covered.
Next stop, the famous Azizanya (village at the edge of the estuary). The meaning of an estuary to the layman is a partially enclosed area where freshwater from the lake meets with saltwater from the ocean. Their lands are places of transition from land to the sea. In other words, an area where the Volta Lake meets the sea but do not flow into each other. Now that we have a fair idea of what an estuary is, let us go on this ride together.
Our happiness knew no bounds when we got to Tsarley Kope, home of the Aziza. We boarded a canoe at a price of course en route to Aziza. The waterman served as our tour guide and local ‘coast guard’.
What makes Ada special is the estuary. The splash in an estuary phenomenon makes it more cheerful. One should not consider it a place for swimming or jet skiing due to the intense turbulence and debris in the flow bores and are extremely hazardous most of the time.
You will be swallowed in seconds but if you watch from a distance, you cannot help but appreciate the amazing things nature has to offer us and the wonderful creation of God. We did not want to leave (ibid) after spending 45 minutes there. It was so beautiful to watch and so peaceful, away from the hustle and bustle of Accra.
Ada has beautiful beaches and river front scenery. It is famous for fishing and boat cruising. Speed boats, jet skis and pontoons are made available to visitors and tourists upon requests, by locals and beach resorts who want to explore the river.
Treasure Island and Aqua Safari are beach resorts one can spend a weekend or day trip at. Both (ibid) have ferries to cruise around the river and archipelagos.
Ever heard of the Asafotufiam festival celebrated by the Adas’? It takes place during the first week of August. The festival is celebrated in remembrance of the achievements in wars fought by the ancestors of Ada. Asafotufiam was started in 1937. Asafotufiam means firing of musketry by the two asafo groups (Akomfode and Asorkor) in Ada.
The people of Ada speak Dangbe. Dangbe is partly mutually intelligible with Ga and to a lesser extent, Ewe. Many of the people speak or understand at least one of these languages. Communication was not a barrier at all because we could produce and understand bits and pieces of the (ibid p.3).
Imagine ayigbe biscuit (Ewe because it is produced by the Ewes’) with freshly squeezed pineapple juice as snack and other local delicacies like kokonte with grinded pepper and abobitaadzi, smoked abolo with one man thousand fish (a type of fish that is very tiny and caught in large numbers), boiled spicy crab and fried shrimps with pepper will leave you salivating and asking for more.
Now that we know ghosts in white garments do not queue at Aziza to transition to their ancestors neither is it the end of the sea, we would just have to go back another time. The beautiful beaches and exquisite river front will not be forgotten anytime soon. Talk about the food, people, culture and the language, I will boldly say, we were there. Are you still having second thoughts about visiting Ada or the question should be what are you waiting for?
By Thelma Tetteh- October 31, 2020