Waltzing With Wolves

White SteerWell, the question must be answered – am I dodging lions and tigers and bears as I travel down the streets of the Ashanti Region? Do I awaken to the sounds of growls and shrieks outside my bedroom window? Is Ejisu really elephant country, where the Markets are held at the risk of life and limb? The answer is…NO!

Sorry to disappoint, but there are no wild animals walking around. There was a time, long long ago I imagine where animals were much more prevalent than people, back in the time where Ghana was the Gold Coast and Cote d’Ivoire (our neighboring region to the West) was the Ivory Coast. There is a reason why it was the called the Ivory Coast, and it is felt here that the elephants slowly learned that being in the same region as blood-thirsty ivory hunters was not the best place to be, so they and other animals migrated north to the less populous regions.

So then, what kinds of animals do roam the streets of Ejisu and surrounding areas? Why…farm animals, that’s what! At any point in time, I can run into farm animals around the corner, on the street, or in someone’s yard. Hard to believe, huh? But many people raise animals in their home areas for sustenance, and many “pet” chickens and roosters find their way to the dinner table for special events (especially Boxing Day and New Years).

Goats on the StreetWalk down the Accra-Kumasi highway (2-4 lane with stoplights) and there may be 15-20 goats coming toward me, calmly grazing on the grass alongside the road.

Come out my gate in the mid-afternoon, and I may (and have) run into a herd of cattle being moved from grazing land back to a Missionary compound a few hundred feet away.

Chicken and chicksShop in the Ejisu Market and I will be dodging the chickens and baby chicks rooting around in the discards from numerous food stalls.

And wake up in the morning to the sound of several roosters in my neighborhood, beginning their daily noise routine.

So yes, there are hundreds of animals walking the streets of Ejisu and Kumasi, but thankfully (for me) not the kind you may expect if you are into African folklore rather than African fact (as many of us unfortunately are in the States).

Doomed Goat in TaxiAnd let me not forget to tell you about the time we were driving behind a taxi, and peeking out from the tied-down trunk that had opened slightly was a goat on the way to be slaughtered! I laughed so hard in amazement I’m surprised the goat didn’t hear me!

You just never know what animals you’re going to meet here in Ghana, but I do look forward to visiting the wildlife refuges and seeing the ones I thought I would see normally. Check out the new Gallery for more pictures of what I have seen in my travels on foot and in cars.

 (In a massive bit of irony, there is a ZOO here(!) which I plan to visit soon. LOL)

Cattle Grazing      Goats on Road    Herd of Cattle