Ivory Coast to Ghana …and Tanzania elephant crisis…

Malaria slowly left the body though in fatigue but was glad to be out of that horrible fiver.

Ivory Coast is well linked with roads this make the cycling far ease compared to dust bumping roads. Around Man area it elevated region with hills and valleys. From lush green forest to palm fringe of the coast Ivory Coast land is fertile and well exploited. The palm plantations crown the hills and roll as far as eyes can see. There is good numbers of pineapple plantations as well as bananas. . Cocoa was what made the economy of Côte d’Ivoire boom in the ’80. Went down with political crisis and now is come back. Cocoa and fertile land have not only brought hay days in Ivory Coast but also lamenting ones. This have encourage long time regional immigrations from countries such us Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, etc. The immigration took political turn cause instability in Ivory Coast what also become regional crisis overlapping as the tribes inter-related beyond the political boundaries. In this forest is where the Liberia rebels start and spread the wind all the way to Sierra Leone.

Cycling in this region, in this remote and dance forest. I understand how any guerrilla war might take decades.

The other cost Ivorians are paying is environmental degradation, one of the rain forest in the north with almost 100 years old tress was and is still taken down for the need of small scale cocoa plantation.

It is like Ivory Coast was about to follow the suit of East Asia courtiers to use its land for production such as palm oil to bust it domestic product. The evidence of this can be seen in the development of infrastructure and particular in the city of Abidjan. But seem like political crisis mad it miss the turn, there is still efforts to catch up.


20140214-125640.jpgTwo days of cycling on the relatively flat coast and low land of Ivory Coast I arrived in Ghana. Among the first African country to part with British empire and join the Pan-Africanism dream rising from the hills of Ethiopia, championed by it last emperor Haile Selassie. Lead by it legendary Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana went on even to adopt the rainbow colors of red, green and golden but instead of Jewish star it set it own ‘Black Star’. The early success of Ghana set inspiration for many other African countries which soon after couple of decades dream of self ruling become true and then back the dreams land; like the one of Congo DR. Well, history with it weight seem to be treasured here and against all odds Ghana is still striving to show example for other African states.

Upon arrived in the Ghanian boarder I was assisted with immigration offices, immaculate dress and well speaking. This was surprise for me, this kind of fuss sometime happen where there is some foreigners and tourism but not in the middle of forest. It first boarder since I cross from Spain where official give some deamn for their work to assist and be responsible without ask for money. In general, I found out later the system here is trying hard to catch up with 21st speed. It went on to produce people such as Kofi Annan, and lot of other self driven Ghanians I meet.

The four days cycling to Accra have been battling with mid day heat and humidity, some times with broken roads where Chinese are busy making new ones. Even though I wanted to take it ease as I’m recover from Malaria, I find myself doing 100+km per day. At last I find out I am not strong as the body assume. The last two days to before Accra were of such exhaustion. But in the expensive towns overpriced with mining (oil and gas mining) workers, the option was better to move on.

Despite the effort of Ghana trying with good governance is still trapped in the extreme poverty. In the villages I slept most houses has no toilets, the public one is out order, over used and still in use. The laboratory for disease to people who have no running water. In the small urban which are floated with young immigrants, few skilled while more are not. Food is bit high, in several occasion I had to wonder lot in litters and dust towns of shakers to find food. When I find ponded cassava served with source of smoked fish, the hygiene on preparation and serving doesn’t arose uptight. Good food in Accra which is partly fast food is $4- $6. May be the gap is wide here or the plan to alleviate the situation of majority is too ambitious and doesn’t catch up with population growth speed.

In general Ghanaians are friendly, kind and welcoming. It ease to mingle with people here, always there is good answer even for dumb question. When I ask for direction folks with give such a efforts to show directs or ask others to make sure I’m assisted. It was so difficult to find cheap in the city hotel. After wonder for hours some dude the decide to take their motor bikes and lead me around. Cheep hotel/guest houses are for few hours.

Planned to sort Nigerian visa here in Accra but turn down because I don’t permanent residence permit but advised to apply in the last country before Nigeria. In this case is Benin, seem like will be sort of show. Mean while it was such a pleasure to catch up with two friends come here for conference; Howard and Ragnvald. Thank you guys for the treat!

…and the Tanzania elephant crisis…

Though some thinkers stressed the possibilities of natural limitations, explained about the need to conserve natural resource and develop sustainably as early as the time of industrial development in the north. Till this day it have been hard for us to understand what this mean or bothering to do much. The history of nature and wild life conservation is very young. In the 1870s the yellow stone national park among earliest national park was founded, the wind took African rich biodiversity in the 1950s. The pioneer of these efforts ofcourse they were hunters who realize the diminishing of the creatures they knew nothing about more than how they died when shorted.

Yes, it is not long since we knew that there is NO human race is less human. Still we haven’t full abolish that mentality neither forget the price paid for this kind of changers.

In the 1980s Tanzania was home of second biggest number of elephant. Today is epicenter of massacre and trafficking. It said that Tanzania is loosing 30 elephant per day, nearly 11,000 per year! The elephants which numbered 70,000 five years ago to day they are scarcely 13,000. That to say about elephant what about dwindling number of poor Rhino.

The great explanation of crisis is poverty and wealth. Again it said 350 millions of Chinese middle class consume 70% of poaching ivory not to say about other endanger wild animals.

Chinese are not to take all the blames, there lot of cultures to change even in Africa. There is wide practiced spot hunting though this is done with only those who are well off and very rich. It said that the royal British guards need 1 black bear for the each hat they were, they have to replace these hats almost every year. How may black bears ? Britain is hosting giant wild life protection conference with about 50 heads of state. Some of my friends wondered what will Tanzania president will say due to his failure to protect elephants which hit critical point during his ruling. Now you can figure out. In Tanzania the poaching hit the deep roots of corruption, the trade is such profitable and lucrative that it swallowed every one. Now it in politics and life threatening venture.

20140214-125752.jpgTo day we know and understand the complexity behave of these wild animals especial elephants. I believe that like all creature of nature, they have no less right to life than us. They are vital to the ecosystem which support our life.

Although this situation is controversial and complex as it may seem but I think we have been in the more hard one than this; stoping slavery, racial prejudice, etc I believe it possible to save the wild life. We need massive participation and campaigns, more effective ones, more than those one in the conference rooms. Asia need more awareness and long term education, our royalties have to stop hypocrisy and take honest position to save the wild animals. We need to make sport hunting a barbaric act. The success and survive of these wild animal is in the hand of each one of us, we need to act according to out position and ability.

I have talked about my affiliation with wild animals and nature where I was luckily born amongst. It is my drive to take this cycling challenge. It hard and bitter to understand the interconnection of problem and see what happen but still it doesn’t take away the hopes.

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