Posted by: devonhamilton | October 11, 2010

Touristy Weekend

We had our first MDG workshop today and it went pretty well. It was with one of the smaller classes so that was a nice start off point for us. We have been asked to teach English in the afternoons so it looks like we will be fairly busy while we are in Takoradi!

On Sunday we were supposed to go to an Internet café to do additional research on the MDGs for our workshops, which start Monday. However, we failed to realize that absolutely everything is closed on Sunday. We designed our first workshop based on the books, documents, and other resources we already had. We met with the YMCA on Friday so it looks like we will be doing workshops there every morning, rotating which classes we are teaching.

On Saturday the principal of the YMCA, Emelia, invited us to join her and some friends on a sightseeing trip. We caught a bus around 8am and headed to the Canopy Bridge. This is one of only four canopy bridges of its kind in the world (the others are in Peru, Malaysia, and somewhere else that I can’t remember). I was a bit apprehensive about going on these bridges due to my fear of heights, but I did well! There are seven bridges and they range in height up to 40m. I am glad I did though, as the views from the top were absolutely stunning!

Afterwards, we toured the Cape Coast castle, a UNESCO site. This is where Ghanaians who were forced into slavery would be held for up to three months before they were put on ships to the Americas. They had an extensive museum on the history of the “Gold Coast” which we were able to view before our tour. The exhibits included the shackles used on slaves, the branding irons, and blueprints of the ships and how many slaves they carried. While on the tour we stood in crowded chambers with three small holes for light and ventilation and were told that 200 men at one time would occupy one of these chambers – and it felt crowded with our group of 30 or so. You can still see scratch marks on the floor and walls from people who were desperate to get out. We also saw the women’s quarters as well as the punishment cell for the women who refused the advances of officers, and for men who tried to escape. The men in particular were held in a small cell (all together) and were not given food or water until they died. We walked through the “door of no return”, where these men and women would go through to board the ship, to never return – many did not even survive the journey in these ships or “floating coffins”. Our tour guide was excellent. This was on the top of my list of things to see while in Ghana so I am surprised and happy to have crossed it of so early! (The pictures are on someone else’s camera since they charge an extra fee per camera: will try to post later!)

On the way back we were taken to meet the chief of one of the villages. The meeting was very traditional, although they were kind enough to explain and narrate the process for us. I had read about the protocol of meeting chiefs so I knew some of what to expect. We couldn’t speak directly to the chief, but through linguist, and he spoke back through a linguist – so we never spoke directly. After making an offering to him, we introduce ourselves and tell him why we are here. Then we all drank some sort of gin (made of palm?) from the same glass to symbolize our acceptance of each other and willingness to work together. Before taking our drink we pour some on the ground as an offering. Afterwards, the chief offered us beverages to welcome us into the community. We were offered either Star (beer) or Malt Guinness (non-alcoholic) and we all made the unfortunate choice of Malt Guinness which must be an acquired taste! We were also treated to dinner afterwards which was delicious: rice, chicken, vegetables, and fries! It was my favourite meal I’ve had here so far.

We saw another cockroach last night and they are surprisingly large. Right now I am too afraid to kill them (someone else does it) but maybe by the end of my time here I’ll be able to! I’ll need to get a picture of one soon (luckily I have only seen a few) but right now I won’t go close enough to hold something up to show some sort of scale. Up until Saturday I had only had one running shower here but our running water miraculously returned Sunday morning, which was amazing. The past week has been full of bucket showers and no running tap. I guess you don’t realize how much you take flushing the toilet for granted until you share a bathroom with four other girls and aren’t able to! We’ve gotten pretty good at flushing it by pouring a bucket of water down the bowl.

We haven’t made it down to the beach yet so I think that is currently our plan for the upcoming weekend. We’ll see what happens!

PS I have located the post office so I will try to get some letters out shortly!

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Responses

  1. It looks wonderful – I have sent your blog along to George in Nemaska and asked him to share it with Diane – hopefully he will. Billy Diamond died and was buried this past week – Prime ministers and premieres were there – too many small jets to park at Waskaganish – facinating.. am off to Waterloo to interview students — keep enjoying this adventure Di


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