The Ghana Diaries: Sunset at Tawala Beach
January 1, 1970
Two guys wandering in the West African planes of Accra Ghana and ending up on Tawalla beach for an uplifting African beach party, might not be such an incredible story.
It does become the case, however, when these young men are missionaries sent from a catholic diocese from overseas to spread the word of God to young African youths, living in a parish and living according to the Lord’s expectations.
How it began.
This incredible story originates from Gozo, Malta. Alan and I are music enthusiasts (Alan the prolific guitar\bass player, percussionist and vocalist, and I the DJ (The Wobis Duo) and whilst we were looking for adventure overseas, we specifically chose Africa. It was our dream to go to a place reminiscent of humanity’s roots, in which we could help others out and live out a super travelling plan. Cutting a long story short, the less expensive and safest way to go was by travelling with the Church. Even though Alan and I do not practice religion, we found no trouble joining the Holy Club in order to reach our goal. Besides, our aim was to go there and support vulnerable people that’s exactly what this religious group set out to do, and so it was indeed the perfect plan.
When in Ghana.
When in Ghana, all was going well. We were assisting in the parish maintenance, school lectures and mostly contributing to social classes from the young little kids to the older fascinating grown-ups. On a side note, it is important I mention here that the Catholic Church heavily invests in Ghana’s society, providing schools, sport facilities and social gatherings together with the obvious place of worship the Parish comes with.
As you can imagine, the setting is very different from that of home, and that is the beauty of travelling: the social and physical environment change so much, that you are only preoccupied in the now. How to cope, how to address people, how to speak, how and when to laugh (if at all), what conversations to avoid, what streets to avoid… It’s as though life starts all over again. The point here is, though, that we were living in a reality that was such a far cry from our crazy musical routine back home. We had not gone to a convert in weeks, not listened to any particular music, not played any instrument (apart from Alan who brought a couple of guitars to strum along the way, one of which he was leaving to the parish as a goodbye present, good fellow!). We were not thinking about it, don’t get me wrong; we were so caught up in our daily activities that time was flying by.
We were living with a family in the town of Mamprobi, which included 2 parents and 4 children, two girls and two boys, all approximately our age. They’re great people and had some amazing time with them. We learnt the meaning of appreciation, love and compassion with these guys and loved being part of their family of all those weeks. and along the way we made friends, visited places, ate awesome dishes, took public transport, visited market places and stumbled on some crazy rides. But something was still missing, and we were yearning for it, we didn’t know exactly what, until the chance came up.
Dancing in Tawala Beach.
William, our brother, came to us and said: “You know, we should go to a beach party”. Alan and I had the same reaction: it’s too bad. It’s too bad, because our peers at the parish would not agree to this, the parish leaders will approve, and our own leaders will not allow it to happen. We were doomed, it was mission impossible, a ‘fait non accompli’. So we just sucked it in and prepared to go about our African ‘tro tro’ to get to the parish. But then, the unexpected came stumbling out of brother William’s mouth: “But we should tell no one about it, keep it our secret”. Alan and I jumped to the roof and against all Christian values, vowed to tell no one and make this trip an adventure for the books.
The trip truly began when a couple of nights later, William stole his father’s car. Keep in mind, here, that not everybody owns a car in Ghana, it is already a privilege – and we were stealing it to go to a party. This is ‘massive’ to the power of 2 compared to European standards: it’s like stealing your dad’s military tank or something.
We immediately found our rocky way towards a shabbier part of town and entered a roadblock. Oh my. What’s going to happen here? Well, surprisingly – nothing. We were able to pass through unscathed. Next stop, was party stop.
Once there we paid our way in and at the gates we came to a stop. It was too much to swallow. A massive crown of people. An enormous beach. Loud music. A darkening sky. This was truly an epic scene to be part of. A deep blue-black sea was swallowing the sand dunes in front of us, stretching from east to west, with no particular point of start nor finish. We staggered in, still mesmerised, to the sound of Dub Reggae music and the smell of grass, sand and sea. Alan and I looked at each other and knew, at that point, that our adventure was complete. We had hit the spot.
The night continued with some light drinking and heavy dancing, with an awesome sunset on Tawala beach. We mingled with all sorts of people, and were part of an inspiring environment, truly unexpectedly. It had been the great escapade of our holiday, all a music fan or a party head could ask for from our cousins in West Africa. We were truly blessed to be introduced to the party scene as well as all the other experiences. Needless to say, that on the way back, we had to pay ourselves out of the roadblock in order for us to be set free!