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Sep
19

First Adventures in Cape Coast


This weekend was a special treat as Nick, his friend Isaac and I took a four hour tro-tro out the coast! Cape Coast is famous for its castle (originally created by my Portuguese ancestors..)  It was an incredible experience! The beach was beautiful, though the cleanliness of the water was questionable.

The weekend was interesting right from the get-go. as I spotted a familiar symbol in streets of Ghana…

Yes, that man selling belts is indeed wearing a UC Santa Cruz shirt with Sammy the Slug on it. He was so confused when I tried to explain to him how someone from my school most likely donated it to the Good Will (which ships a lot of clothes to Africa, which are then sold on the street) so I eventually just asked him to stand still so I could take a picture with him.

So off we went in our little tro-tro, headed for the coast. When we arrived a boy with a coconut on his head watched us fumble around with directions until we headed towards our hostel, The Baobab Guest House.

We checked in, got settled and then set out to explore the small town.


We walked along the beach and observed all the fishing boats and people who worked on them…

Then we came across some men who were pulling in a line from a net that had been placed far away from the shore. As we approached them I could hear their rhythmic chanting as they pulled the line. I decided this seemed like fun so I joined them…

I heard one of the men call me “strong lady” and I felt quite happy with myself… And yea, my arms were a little sore later on..

That night we went to grab a bite at the chop shop (that’s what they call the little shacks that sell food) and met three Irish guys that were volunteering near by. They invited us to their hotel and said there was a bar there. When we walked in,  I felt like I was in the twilight zone: white people as far as the eye could see. Nick and I instantly both said that we felt almost out of place since we had become accustomed to being the only Obruni’s around. The people there were a mix of British, Aussie’s and American. I think I was more taken by the fact that they seemed so unfriendly compared to the Ghanaians. It made me kind of sad that the cultures are so different in that way.

The next day we got up early and went to Cape Coast Castle. It was really interesting, they had a museum dedicated to the slave trade. Fact: Out of all the slaves exported from Africa, only less than 1/3 went to the United States. The other 2/3 + went to South America and Europe.

This is a picture of the castle from the beach. Below is our tour of the castle in pictures…

The picture above is self explanitory, but this is where all the slaves were put on ships and seperated from the families for the last time. The tour guide took us through the dungeons where the men and women stayed, sometimes for 3 months at a time. The cells were about the size of a large classroom and would fit 2oo people in them! When the excavators came in years back they dug into the floor of the mens dungeons and realized they were standing on three feet of feces that had turned rock solid over time. That meant that the men slept in their own poop. And in the women’s cell you could smell irom from the blood of the women who were kept in  the cells their during menstruation. So many crazy facts about the lives of people during that time.

Once we went through the Door of No Return, the view on the other side was awesome. These are some of my favorite shots of the day…

After we left the castle, Nick bought a cocoa fruit. I had always heard about them, how the pulp that surrounds the cocoa bean is super sweet and yummy, not to mention full of caffeine. I tried it and loved it! I am curious as to why they don’t use this pulp in marketed sweet products considering how much the cocoa bean itself is used.

The next day we headed away from the coast towards the Kakum National Forest, where the famous canopy walk ways are. (See next post).

 

5 comments

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  1. Jen Berkley Jackson says:

    WOW! What a lot to fit into one road trip! Were you gone for 2 days?

    What a hoot to see the Slug shirt!!! And the castle…wow…heavy stuff for sure…

    SO glad you have some male friends to travel with to make you feel more comfortable in new areas…as adventurous as you are, I’m sure it made the outing much more comfortable!

    Loving your blog!

  2. john golden says:

    Dear Sy,

    Go get ‘em. I have come to love reading your blog and thinking of the glorious 3 years I spent in and out of Ghana. As well as all my friends who are still there. Please don’t even think (you mentioned its questionable nature…) of swimming in any public waters unless you are at least 45 minutes from the closest major city and know that the water is flowing. Even in the ocean, you need to be 45 mins. away from the city.. Obviously you know you will never ever forget this experience and chances are that you will return to Africa again now that you have gotten the bug!. Are you planning to be in Accra at all? Please let me know. You sound great You great! You are great!!!! Lot’s of love,

    John
    johngolden@optonline.net

  3. Ginger Bird says:

    Oh Sy, you are having such a wonderful experience! I am so glad that you are sharing it with so many people!

    B

  4. Ginger Bird says:

    Oh, yes I want to try some of that cocoa fruit too!

  5. Aron Heintz says:

    Thanks for the preview of Ghana! Hope to see you there soon, sister…

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