29 Jul Wli from the Peak
Written by Emma Leibman and Hugh Bartlett, 2015 Ghana: Global Health
You can’t journey through Ghana without taking a trotro ride, so naturally that is how we began our trip to the Volta region for the start of our program orientation. A trotro is an elongated van that can fit 11 to 14 people. We were lucky enough to score a trotro with air conditioning, so the six hour drive was a breeze.
When we got to Wli, we stared up at the mountain we would climb the next day, wondering what to expect from the luscious green expanses. Thankfully, we were distracted from our fears and excitement by the friendly locals who greeted us and helped show us around the village.
After our short tour, we headed back to our rooms to begin the first part of orientation, where we got to know each other as well as the Operation Groundswell principles better. Orientation was followed by a delicious meal of vegetable stew and rice that was prepared by Annie, a Wli native with whom we were staying. As the sun set and nightfall came, our group decided to go on a breathtaking stargazing walk to mentally prepare ourselves for the hike the next day, but also for all the exciting things to come on the program.
At 8 a.m., we gathered at the base of the mountain, and after some expert haggling with the tourism board by our program leader, we were off on our adventure. We climbed along the right ridge of the mountain until we reached the summit, snapping extraordinary pictures of the landscape and a birds-eye view of the tiny village of Wli the whole way up. After summiting, we crossed into Togo on foot before descending again to the Upper Wli Falls, which are the tallest waterfalls in all of West Africa. We raced into the cool and refreshing water for a quick swim as this was exactly what we needed after a strenuous hike.
That night, we spent the evening talking about the Ghana Global Health program partners, sharing our goals for the program. We ended our time in Wli chatting as friends, playing cards, and of course preparing for our next adventure, the trotro ride back to Accra!