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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Ghana: The Road to Jesus

Wooden boxes in Elmina fish market
God is everywhere in Ghana, even on the wooden boxes in Elmina Market, where the inscriptions include 'Father forgive them', 'Cry your own cry', 'Who is free?' and my favourite, 'Clap for Jesus'

Taking the bus from Kumasi to Accra is a religious experience, and I'm not talking about praying to get there in one piece. If the Sahel is obsessed with Allah and Mohammed, then Ghana is obsessed with Jesus and the Bible, and its obsession is a very public one; Ghanaian Christianity is like American Evangelism with all the fake sincerity stripped away, and it's so powerful it pervades every single aspect of society. In Ghana there are twice as many Christians as Muslims, with the Christians mainly in the south and the Muslims in the north, and as you burn south along the Kumasi-Accra highway and into the heart of Christian Ghana it's like having your own personal baptism. Welcome to Jesus, Ghanaian-style.

Hallowed Be Thy Name

Ghana's church names are relatively staid, though the lack of repetition between names is surprising; in England most churches are named after saints, but not so in Ghana. The Redeemer's Victory Church sits down the road from the New Testament Christian Centre, just along from the Apostolic Church of God and the Miracle Temple, which are opposite the Voice of Christ Church and the New Church Study Centre. You'll rarely see two churches with the same name, but even the church names pale into insignificance compared to the shops. Oh my.

Off the Road

The buses and trucks that ply Ghana's highways don't escape quotation fever either. They too are plastered with Christian epithets, like 'Go With God', 'In God We Trust', 'Jesus Never Fails' and 'Perseverance', but in the 255km journey from Kumasi to Accra we came across three serious crashes, two involving overturned trucks and one involving a minibus that had ploughed a 20m-long furrow straight into a field of banana trees, proving that the Son of God may never fail, but 'The Lord is My Shepherd' brake pads can. One wonders if the drivers were running on Guinness power; it would explain a lot about driving standards in Ghana.