Joy FM’s family program stayed true to their tagline of building homes out of houses when it drew the curtains on its ‘December On Home Affairs Promotions’ by sponsoring four families for a Christmas treat at the Akayet Hotel in Tamale.
As part of the promotion families were invite to write to the number one family-oriented programme on Ghanaian radio, HOME AFFAIRS about their marital journey so far citing the good, the bad and looking forward.
The first five families to send their entries were selected for a competition in the studio. One family had an emergency so could not make it to the studio for the competition. Three families were selected. However, the team at Akayet Hotel were generous. They decided to make it happen for all families so, they offered the fourth family a spot as well.
On the December 23, five families set out on an expedition to Yikene the beautiful town that houses the plush Akayet Hotel in the Upper East Region, Bolgatanga. Although the airline Starbow almost messed up the beautifully planned trip which was to start from boarding the domestic flight at 11:00 am, the families ended up enplanning at 3:30 pm.
Eventually, the aircraft took off, went through the expected turbulence, (not for long though) had a very smooth flight and landed beautifully and safely at the Tamale airport at about 4:40 pm. By 5:20 pm the exhausted guests arrived at the Akayet Hotel.
SATURDAY THE 24TH
The team was treated to a sumptuous English breakfast at the Bongo Restaurant and set out on an expedition to discover some tourist sites in the Region.
Their first stop was the Sirigu Women’s Organisation for Pottery and Art where they learned about the history of the centre. They watched as the women skillfully mould clay into wonderful artifacts. They also beheld some of the artworks and made purchases after their tour of the place.
Soon they were headed to way to Paga Crocodile Pond to visit and play with the crocodiles. They had the time of their lives as they took turns to play and take pictures with the harmless crocodiles.
Adults and children, as well as groups, took brave photo turns with the reptile which was summoned out of the pond with some incantations. The manner in which the poor chicken was thrown into the gaping jaws of the crocodile and how it was munched in a single gulp was quite barbaric but that remains the culture and practice at the Pond if visitors are to continue to enjoy friendly contacts with the crocodiles.
Next place of visit was moving to the Ghana-Burkina Faso Boarder, crossed it as they watched their mobile network briefly change to other roaming services. We made a stop at the duty-free shop at the border to get one or two memorabilia.
Soon after, the team made a stop at the Slave camp at Nania. This is the hometown of Ghana’s legendary football player Abedi Ayew Pele whose sons also play for the Ghana national team, the Black Stars. They were educated on the rich history of the camp and it was beautiful how some of the children related to the stories Akayet Hotel where we had good lunch and retired for the day.
Later that evening, there was a special Christmas eve dinner and performances. The children reenacted roles they played their various Christmas performances at school. There were memorised verses and poetry recitals by both children and parents. The families also took turns on sharing the essence of Christmas with each other and had dinner.
The families had their breakfast on Christmas morning after which the children went to see Christmas movies together at the theater created especially for the team.
The adults made their way to the “Dog Market” where dogs sell faster than all other edibles animals meat. The fact that it was Christmas as well made the group witness dogs in various shapes and sizes were on display. This is a delicacy in Bolga, in case you don’t know. Although the group wanted to visit the Art Centre but the shops were closed because of the festivities.
Back at the Akayet Hotel, local dishes lunch buffet were set up for patrons. Tuo Zaafi with ‘Ayoyo’ and other local dishes and other local dishes were all there for the taking at the pool side for family games after lunch. The children were bouncing in their castles, some were in the swimming pool and parents played Ludu and scrabble whiles other chatted away.
At about 7:30 p.m, it was another time without the children as the adults went to have dinner and watch movies. The team was nicely dressed for the “couple’s evening” where they spent time having adult conversations. The couples shared their experiences as couples and drew marriage tips and lessons from each other. It was therapeutic as some people were hurting but they shared their frustrations, we encouraged each other, prayed for each other and made decisions to have fresh starts. The highest point of the entire journey you could say.
The team all went out to join all other patrons who had come there for a relaxing evening and were again treated to good dinner. The night was fun as there was Kizomba and Salsa moments and an open dance floor as well.
DECEMBER 26 -29
Starbow did not fly so alternative arrangements were made with AWA to fly the team back in batches. The Knight-Tay family was the last to have flown on Tuesday the 27th but the weather became bad as visibility was poor for flights so for two days all flights from Tamale were canceled. They spent one night in Tamale and made half of the journey by road to Kumasi on Thursday and were fortunate to board a flight from Kumasi and landed in Accra at about 3 p.m on the December 29.
The last show of the year was in the studio with the couples came back to share their experiences. For some, it was their first time of flying and it was indeed a lifetime experience. They surprised the Home Affairs production team and Akayet Hotel teams with citations to show their gratitude. The group general manager for AKAYET Mr. Joseph Costy Martey was grateful for the partnership and hopes for many more of such.
You can also listen to Joy 99.7 FM for other exciting promotions. Home Affairs airs every Saturday morning from 6:15-7:30 am. The show is hosted by Edem knight-Tay who also co-produced the show with Gladys Osei Owiredu.