Saturday, February 6, 2016

"Adaklu Mountain - Undiscovered gold for Adaklu-Anyigbe"

(A GNA Feature by Anthony Bells Kafui Kanyi)

Ho, Aug. 27, GNA - Poverty is said to be a disease, but it becomes deadly when one fails or is unable to use resources at one's disposal to turn the situation around to improve one's standard of living. Adaklu Mountain, arguably one of the tallest and fascinating mountains in the country, has been 'lying low' with its tourist potentials for decades while people living around the mountain live in abject poverty.

This, perhaps, is due to the lack of knowledge of the Mountain's scenic beauty or the inability to exploit its potentials to turn around the socio-economic situation of the local residents and people in the entire Adaklu-Anyigbe District where it is located. The flat topped mountain, said to be home to different species of birds, animals, and origin of many streams, is located about 15 kilometers from Ho.

The Mountain whose height is yet to be ascertained, also houses different species of trees of economic value, historical caves of all sizes, local and exotic fruits on which monkeys, bats and other animals feed.

Information gathered indicates that some Germans in the then Trans-Volta Togoland used the top of the mountain to direct ships. At the top of the mountain is a pillar with the inscription, "Gold Coast Survey Triangulation Station."

Until recently, the Mountain was of no interest to anyone, apart from some indigenes who cultivate part of it for subsistence purposes. Some knowledgeable natives of Adaklu only sing the praises of the mountain in view of its height and not of its potentials, while other locals enjoy bush meat from its belly and logs for firewood and charcoal.

Communities around the Mountain live in abject poverty as many find it difficult to get three-square meals a day, when the potentials of the Mountain is there to be exploited.

Though some of the communities have basic amenities such as schools, pupils are more concerned about how to help their parents to get food from the farm for the house rather than being in school. As a result, some pupils go to school but perform badly either because of the lack of interest or the absence of concentration though they show signs of great intelligence.

Fortunately, Mrs Juliana Azumah-Menzah, Minister of Tourism, together with some government officials and some locals recently organized a tour to the top of the Mountain to draw attention to its tourist potentials, and to encourage the people to exploit the opportunity to improve their living standards. The tour, originally organized for a selected group of people, attracted many who joined the Minister's entourage including, Colonel Cyril Necku Rtd, Deputy Volta Regional Minister to climb the Mountain. The about 500 adventurers started the two-hour journey to the peak of the Mountain with great expectation and enthusiasm but only about 100 made it.

Mrs Azumah-Mensah who doubles as the Member of Parliament for the Area, dressed in a white three-quarter trouser with a white Obama T-shirt with the inscription "Yes We Can" started on a good note but was unable to reach the top of the Mountain, compelling some members of the entourage including some pressmen to retreat.

The rest of the team with some locals continued the journey and got to the top with different stories and experiences. Some voyagers got to the top limping having to scale big rocks, logs and heights while enjoying the fauna and the feel of the caves on the Mountain. Some courageous ones reached out to fruits on the Mountain to quench their thirst while others went in for the cool waters collected in the caves. The serene atmosphere at the top of the Mountain offered great reward to all climbers.

On the way back, however, every step downhill was an adventure until one got to Kodiabe and further to Helekpe with much ease to the durbar ground for a snack. Mrs Azumah-Mensah described the expedition as interesting and a good exercise. She observed that the Mountain could be used for climbing, hiking and parachuting and urged opinion leaders in communities around the Mountain to initiate a move in that direction to attract assistance from the government.

Mrs Azumah-Mensah advised the communities to build reception centres and some basic tourist facilities to attract both local and foreign tourists to the place. She also tasked officials of the Ghana Tourist Board who were on the expedition to develop a fact-sheet on the Mountain for future use.

Mr Nico Beunders, a Senior Advisor at the Netherlands Development Organization office in Ho, advised the communities to organize festivals for the climbing of the Mountain and cultural groups to entertain visitors.

He said his Organization would offer technical advice to use the Mountain as tool for the development of the area.

Togbe Agbobada, a Senior Divisional Chief of Adaklu-Anfoe, appealed to stakeholders to help build chalets at the flat surface on the top of the Mountain to host climbers and holiday makers who would wish to spend some hours and days at the top before descending. It would beautiful to see Adaklu Mountain transformed into a huge economic asset, a health resort and for sports. A dream come true for many children from the area who would benefit from the venture to enhance their living standards by way of improved educational and health facilities, potable water, good roads and electricity.

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