Cape Coast Getaway
By Lindsay Ann Jopes (USA)
Right before I left for my trip to Cape Coast I finished my individual evaluation of my students. Out of the 18 I discovered there are four who are really struggling. Teacher Gloria’s solution was for them to not graduate. I decided that was an unacceptable solution, and have decided, after talking to the other teachers and the head mistress, the following. For the next month I’m volunteering I will be working with these four students, helping them catch up and hopefully getting them to a point where they will be able to graduate with the rest of their peers. I’m really excited that I’ll be making a direct impact and really helping the kids who need the most help. Okay, so on Friday at 4am Katie and I headed off to Elmina, Cape Coast. We stayed in the Coconut Grove Bridge House which cost us $50 each for the entire weekend. It was really clean and had breakfast included. We had a view of the Elmina castle and the entire fisherman town. Our hotel had a sister hotel, The Coconut Grove Resort, which was absolutely gorgeous!! After touring the Elmina Castle, buying a few souvenirs and cruising around the town, we headed to the pool at the other hotel. It was right on the beach and was very luxurious for Ghana. This hotel, probably the nicest in Ghana, cost $63/night/single room, not to bad. We laid out for a few hours, read, and swam. Then we had dinner at the hotel restaurant on the beach and listened to live music.
Saturday we headed into Cape Coast to see the Cape Coast Castle. Both castles are right on the beach and are so rich with history. Our tour gave us and amplitude of information on the African Slave Trade and the impact the British had on the Ghanaian culture. It was really interesting and moving to be in a place so historically important. We then walked around Cape Coast for a little bit and then went back to the other hotel for some more R&R. We met many more Obroni’s and other interesting people volunteering all over Ghana. Some were working in orphanages, primary schools, secondary schools, building houses, etc. It’s fascinating to talk to people and discover all the things they’re helping with and their motivations behind it.
Sunday we took a TroTro to Takoradi. A TroTro is a van that they stuff with about 20 people. Keep in mind the heat, then add a million flies to the combo. It’s an experience to say the least. We were in the TroTro for about an hour and about 30 min into our trip a man brought a goat into the van. Katie and I were laughing hysterically; no one on the bus had any idea what was so funny. Once in Takoradi we had to wait two hours for a bus and then headed back home.
It was a really interesting and fun weekend. We were able to see a lot of beautiful places and learn a lot about Ghanaian history while also having time to relax. Today, Monday is a holiday (although nobody seems to know what they’re celebrating) so Katie and I are taking the time to plan out lesson plans for the remaining week.
On Wednesday we’re going to Bonwire (pronounced bon-we-ray) to see the Kente weaving and get other authentic souvenirs. Then, this weekend we’re going to the Monkey Sanctuary up north.
A weekend in Cape Coast
By Taylor Swanson
I went to Cape Coast on the weekend with most of the volunteers from last week and a whole slew of new volunteers. They all seem like great folk and if I don’t see them this weekend or next I will most definitely be in Krokrobite on the weekend of the 24th and hopefully they will all be there. Back to Cape Coast, well, more accurately, Elmina, as we decided to opt for Elmina, or rather, St. George Castle over the Cape Coast Castle. This was mainly due to the fact that St. George is the oldest castle south of the sahara! Originally built by the Portuguese in 1481 it was taken over by the Dutch in the 1600s and then by the British in 1867. It has been Ghanaian since Ghana gained independence 50 years ago and has been declared an international heritage site thanks to the dreadful history of the slave trade that is still evident in its dark, dank dungeons. Our guide was excellent which alwasy helps to bring history alive. On Sunday we went to Kakum National Park to go on the canopy walk. It was an awesome experience, if not a tad terrifying. Built by Canadian mountaineers, upon close inspection one wonders if the guide meant to say boy scouts-boy scouts without many patches. To say that it is a dodgy set-up is an understatement as 2X4s are slapped half-hazardly to trees and walk ways are actually ladders with boards across them. Anyways, we all survived and after rushing back to eat lunch we headed home, but before we could leave we had to purchase trotro tickets which seems like a pretty mundane event; however, I volunteered to purchase all 12 tickets(the group was previously upwards of 20 but we had split up over the day) so I made my way into the crowded trotro station, holding 300,000 cedis. It didn’t take long to find the real reason for the crowded station-Ghana was playing Korea in a wolrd cup warm up match, regardless, I survived, secured the tickets and we were on our way (after purchasing the much-sought-after FanChoco (frozen chocolate milk in a bag).