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Published: June 27th 2010
So Tuesday June 22 I did my entry before I went to talk with some local Ghanian students. We asked them questions and it was really interesting to see how they viewed the U.S. and of the issues in Ghana.
Anyway, on Wednesday (23) we got to go to a carving village and shop around. The people selling things here are so aggressive with tourists, they all say "I will give you good price" or "I will give you a student price" and somewhat make you feel bad if you don't follow them into their store to make a purchase. It was an experience for sure, but I ended up buying some neat wood carvings. After that we went to the Ashanti Kingdom and two museums.
Thursday June 24:
Left Kumasi to head to Elmina that morning. We were supposed to visit the gold mines that day but they were doing blasting and stuff so we weren't able to do that, which was kind of a bummer. I still was able to go through the town that the gold mines were located but it didn't do it justice. On the way to Elmina we stopped to see the slave river. This was a river that the enslaved were taken to after about 3 months of walking to be cleaned in the river and divide the weak from the strong. After being cleaned there they then walked to either the Elmina or Cape Coast Castle which I went to the next two days.
After arriving to Elmina we made it to our beautiful beach resort where I had some time to sit by the pool and enjoy the ocean. We couldn't get into the ocean because the currents are so strong that it is dangerous and there are big rocks. After relaxing I had one of the best meals so far on the trip, of course chicken and rice but there was also a vegetable soup and these really good yams. When I say yams, it is not what we think of in America, its much more like a potato. Anyway it was a great dinner then had a group discussion about what to expect at the castles and understand some of the history behind them.
Friday June 25:
Woke up to rain falling but ate a delicious breakfast at the hotel before going to Kakum National Park. This national park was something I had been looking forward to because it was where I did the canopy walk. Unfortunately it was too late in the morning to see animals and it was sprinkling, but we did a small nature hike first and then went to start walking the canopy bridges. The canopy bridges were 120 meters about the forest floor and there were 6 bridges. I was nervous but got over that quickly because it was such a beautiful view of the rain forest and I kept trying to see any kind of wildlife but I failed at that. The pictures I have taken of most of the views do not do it justice because the land here is sooooo beautiful and lively.
After visiting Kakum we went to the Elmina slave castle which sits above the city and appears to be a beautiful place but knowing what went on there made it lose all of its beauty quickly. This was a castle built by the Portuguese in the 1400's and then changed ownership throughout the next hundreds of years. This castle was a place where the colonists could stay and do trade of goods and human beings. There were male and female dungeons where I was able to go in, everything was done in the dark and when they turned the lights off it was scary. These dungeons held thousands upon thousands of Africans that were being traded. There was a church in the middle of the castle and the Governor lived lavishly above the dungeons. It was disturbing, not only about the amount of slaves that passed through this castle and the door of no return, but that the governor would choose African women to rape and if they got pregnant then they usually never saw the child or both died/were killed. This castle holds so much history for the Africans involved in the slave trade and it was truly disturbing to see where some of the most inhumane acts in the world were held.
Following the tour or Elmina we went to a nice beach where we were allowed to swim because the current was not as bad. But of course it was cloudy and windy on the beach so it kind of killed the fun of the beach. I just sat on the beach and read and talked, but it was relaxing after the busy day. We ate dinner at the beach and had lobster, potato salad (much different than the U.S.'s version of it), chicken, beef, and supposedly the fish was good, I didn't try it.
Saturday June 26:
Woke up around 5:30 am to get to the Cape Coast castle early for a reenactment but the group couldn't get it together to leave in time so we missed the reenactment. Cape Coast Castle is another castle, like Elmina, that was used for the slave trade, but I felt that this castle was worse and the Africans were punished here more in inhumane ways. The first thing we did there was went into the male dungeons. We had to take off our shoes and walk down a dark hall to the dungeons, and when I say dungeons it was literally dark and had very little ventilation for air. We went down into the dungeons where two people were standing in chains against the wall. The guide told us the history of the dungeon and how the men were not let out so there was alway feces, throw up, bodies, and other things on the ground that caused disease and a stench in the dungeon. We then all made a circle and held hands while one of the guides played amazing grace for use to remember the pain and mistreatment of so many people at the castle. We then went into the woman's dungeon and we were told that that dungeon was actually worse than the males and that was where most of the women and children were kept. We then saw another door of no return that the Africans were taken from to go to the ships for trade. The next place we went was the dungeon where the Africans that misbehaved or were too weak to continue were put to die. We all went into the small dungeon that had a very very small hole for air and the lights were turned off. The people put in that room never came out alive, they were not allowed food or water and even with 20 of us in the room made it feel like it was hard to breath.
This castle traded with thousands of Africans and killed thousands as well. After the morning of touring the castle we then got on the bust and made our way to Accra.
After making it to Accra we had a date with the TV to watch the US/Ghana world cup game! We watched it at the hotel with fellow Ghanians and cheered for Ghana! I was going to be happy with whatever the outcome of the game was, but since Ghana is the last country of the African continent to make it to the final 16 I just had to cheer for them!
Since Ghana won we had to celebrate, we did this by getting dressed up all cute and going out on the town. First some of us went to Osu (which is like a down town area) to an outside bar where everyone was celebrating the victory. After that we went to meet up with the rest of the group at a club named Cinderellas. I had so much fun there, the club was a lot like a club in the U.S. but it played some popular U.S. music and then some of the Ghanian music to dance to. It was a fun night!
Sunday June 27:
Today is my final full day in Ghana 😞
I had to do a presentation this morning with my group and listen to the other groups. Then I went to a arts village to do some last minute shopping. Now I am about to go get ready for the farewell dinner, pack up, finish my paper for the credits, and sleep before a long adventure starts tomorrow morning.
I will be writing more when I get back to fill in some holes about how I have been feeling on this trip and what I have learned about myself, others, and the world in general.
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