Mensuro!

Day 7 – January 4th

Finally, the day is here—I will be crossing a suspended bridge in the rainforest today! Besides being excited, I was frankly a little bit worried as well, as I usually get scared so easily. But it’s going to be fun, right?

The two taxis we had called arrived at around 10:30. The taxi that JP, Clarey, Yaw, and I chose to board turned out to be the troublemaker, as our ride was interrupted twice along the way. First, we had to get off and push the car together when the engine suddenly stopped in the middle of the road (literally, we were blocking the traffic for at least ten minutes). Later on, we were stopped again by the police and our driver had a little quarrel with a policeman. What was going on? I was not so sure because they were speaking in Fante. But during the course of this trip I developed a sense of composure to believe all is well even when we meet an angry, intimidating policeman. After all, we did arrive safely at the Kakum National Park in the end, although there were some complaints from the other cab which I later found was waiting for us whenever we got stopped.

After buying the student-discounted tickets at the Park’s entrance, we looked around the visitor center first to get some background knowledge of the Park. The area that is now the Kakum National Park was not always a protected area; it became a forest reserve in 1931. Now it plays a crucial role in preserving numerous forms of wildlife as well as in developing the local economy. It is especially known for the 350-meter canopy walkway which is the first one ever built in Africa. (The canopy refers to the second top layer of the forest where the majority of rainforest species live.) And the walkway is the suspended bridge that we were about to cross ourselves!

With a cold water bottle in each of our hands, we began our journey into the forest by hiking up a little bit until we arrived at the canopy walkway. According to the guide who gave explanations to us and a bunch of other tourists, there were seven bridges in total, each connected by wooden platforms. Whoa, seven of them! Soon we headed over to the first platform where we waited in lines like people waiting for a roller coaster. When it was finally my turn, I carefully stepped on the wooden panel, holding tight onto the ropes on my both sides. Honestly, it was better than I thought, but I still couldn’t help screaming now and then whenever the bridge was shaking or tilting. But kakraa kakraa, I made it through each bridge with the help of other members. I also got to see beautiful trees, which look totally different from the height of the canopy. And at last, we completed the mission!

Along the way down, we became very environmentally conscious and JP picked up some Wtrash on the ground. At the end of the pathway, we saw some men selling coconuts. Paul and Zoe didn’t miss this chance to try the coconut water, which they said tasted like sweet water. After they finished drinking the water, we had the coconuts cut into pieces and ate the white inner layers. We also tried the seeds of a cocoa pod, of which we licked the sweet outer layer and spat out the hard seeds.

The coconuts were only appetizers to our fancy lunch coming up next. We had actually stopped by the Hans Cottage Botel (a really nice restaurant with a big pond and flags of many different countries hanging from the ceiling) on our way to order food ahead, so the food was ready when we got there! We got very nice dishes including a fish dish, a seafood dish, and red beans with plantains. I ordered the Chicken Khebab with Yam chips, which was incredible. I especially fell in love with Yam chips. Hmm yum! After our late lunch, we all stood by the pond of the restaurant and stared at the crocodile that was resting on the shore as if it were a statue. One other thing we noticed was the restroom which had signs “Adam” and “Eve” for male and female. It was so interesting to see so many Christian references wherever we went.

On our way back, we stopped at the gas station where Clarey bought her chocolate ice cream again. Lol We bought some snacks to keep for the night, and came back to our eco-lodge. After some good three hours of nap, we closed our day with another fun night—we really got to know each other better through games and chit chats every night.

Looking back, there was really nothing to fear about the suspended bridge; everything just turned out to be amusing as long as I was with our team.

(Mensuro means “have no fear” in Fante.)

Jiwon Lee