Sunrises, shrines, and sights

Another week and more to tell! A work related post is overdue, but it must wait for now. As last weekend we ventured north to the town of Bolgatanga where we walked to the Tengzug Shrine and Tongo Hills. This was both stunning and fascinating, so I had to share it with you.

On a side note, if you haven’t read my ‘about’ section yet, it is worth knowing that the organisation I’m working with (RAINS) have their own blog here which is run by us 4 volunteers together and is generally based off the work we are doing or cultural matters in Ghana. So keep checking back there for another angle on my life in Ghana!

Anyway, after a 3 hour journey in what is called a ‘tro-tro’ (a cramped and questionable minibus), that unfortunately included a tire bursting 15 minutes in, we arrived in Bolga on Friday evening to meet the other ICS volunteers (where we slept on the roof… just because you can) ready to set off the following morning. What follows are a set of photos to lead you through the journey!

We set out at around 6am for our 11 mile walk, hoping to avoid the midday sun heat. This meant for a rare opportunity to catch the sun rising!

We set out at around 6am (ouch!) for our 11 mile walk, hoping to avoid the midday sun heat. This meant for a rare opportunity to catch the sun rising!

Something just to give you a flavour of what  sort of terrain we were walking in.

Something just to give you a flavour of what sort of terrain we were walking in. The extreme flatness meant it was often easy to see for miles.

Now very close to the Tongo Hills, which you can see in the background.

After 4 or so hours we were now very close to the Tongo Hills, which you can see in the background.

We stopped for a short break on some rocks before heading into the hills. Please excuse the two hooligans...

With the heat now taking it up a gear, we stopped for a short break on some shaded rocks before heading into the hills. Please excuse the two hooligans…

Only after a minute or so of walking into the hills, we stumbled upon a fantastic view!

Only after a minute or so of walking into the hills, we stumbled upon a fantastic view!

The new terrain for the next 30/60 minutes.

The new terrain for the next 30/60 minutes…

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Once we arrived at the visitor centre for the Tongo Hills and Tengzug Shrine, we were first led by our guide to this arrangements of rocks. Believe it or not, this was once the local school! Inside there is a ledge upon which the children would sit and learn.

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We were then introduced to the local chief. He told us a little about himself, such as about the development work he has done in his region to build wells and also the fact he has 19 wives.

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The last leg before reaching the Tengzug shrine!

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Like I said, we stumbled upon some great views. This was the final spot before we had to remove our tops, shoes and socks (if wearing trousers then they had to be rolled up to be like shorts). The guys went first up to the shrine, before heading back down to let the girls go up second. I hadn’t realised quite how hot the rocks got in the sun!

Just outside the topless shrine...

Just outside the Tengzug shrine, where we weren’t allowed to take photos. The shrine itself is slotted between the rocks and is very simple and predominantly spiritual based. It was very peaceful and cool inside, where there was a priest who told us about the shrine and let us ask questions. People come from far around Ghana and surrounding regions to visit the shrine, which dates back to 500 BC, and people who wish to worship there must bring an animal to be sacrificed, eating the meat and leaving behind the rope and fur (which there is a sizable pile of inside the shrine). The reason for the topless requirement is because traditionally Ghanaians would wear only simple rags to cover themselves around the waist; so since that was how people used to visit the shrine, this tradition has been kept to ever since.

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