Birding Without Borders

Day 181: Faith in Birds

A road trip across Ghana.

June 30, 2015, Tafo, Ghana — At breakfast, I talked a little bit with Illiesu, the Ghanaian birder who joined us yesterday. He is 28 and just started birding in 2012 (though he already knows most of the birds and their calls) after Kalu got him interested. Illiesu said that he’s not into it for the living a bird guide makes, or as a business (though he hopes to start leading trips on his own soon), but because “it makes you crazy” and “for the adventure.” Now that’s something I can relate to! I said I was less than a year older than him, and he seemed fascinated. “This is very inspiring for me,” he said. “I’ve never met a birder my own age—I thought they were all really old.” He got a faraway look in his eyes.

Behind him, on the plateau below us, were three elephants (one of which, ahem, appeared to have five legs—quite impressive). I was a little sad that we had to leave Mole National Park after only one full day, but the clock is ticking—so, after just a couple hours of birding there this morning, Kalu, Yaw, and I went south, dropping off Illiesu en route so he could return home.

The rest of the day was spent in transit. The plan is to return to the forest for one more full day tomorrow before I continue to Cameroon on Thursday. I watched the length of Ghana slide past the window in a stream of colors: Iron-red dirt, sooty-black exhaust, bright dresses, brown villages, bowls of fruit balanced on top of smooth-shaven heads. 

Ghana is a God-fearing country, and it’s fashionable to show your faith here in every way possible. As we endured the afternoon traffic in Kumasi, I entertained myself by reading business names: The End Time Cold Store, the Saint Computer Service, God Is In Control Sewing & Decoration, the Sweet Mother Bar, By His Grace Phones, With God Carpentry Works Shop, the Blood Of Jesus Sewing Center, the Holy Driving Institute, and, last but not least, the Nothing But Christ Electrical Shop!

New birds today: 9

Year list: 3331

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