Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cape Coast

These last few weeks have been quite hectic and adventurous, but have been an absolute blast. Campus is a great place to live and has many attractions but it always feels nice to leave campus and explore another part of the country. Our CIEE group took another trip a few weekends ago to Cape Coast, a town on the ocean about 3 hours west of Accra. We left early Saturday morning to begin the gorgeous drive along the coast. On the way we stopped and I got five pineapples on the side of the road (for less than $2!) and I got one cut up and I still am delighted by how juicy and sweet they are every time. On all of our group trips they feed us amazingly well and lunch was no exception. We had a buffet with jollaf rice, fried rice, chicken and fish, yams with pollava sauce (a cooked spinachy-like dish) plantains, salad, and ice cream for desert. After lunch we split up into two groups to visit either the slave castle at Cape Coast or the one in Elmina, even though they are virtually the same. I hopped in the van going to Cape Coast since there were less people in the group.

The slave castle was enlightening. Learning about the slave trade in school is tragic and I can try to imagine what the Africans had to go through but after visiting and getting a tour of a slave castle a whole other emotional level is added. Standing in a place where Africans lived, died, thought their last thoughts in Africa before being separated from their families forever and shipped out west made this part of history feel so close and personal. Its hard to imagine that people committed these horrible atrocities only a little over a century ago.

After the tour of the castles, we drove to our hotel – a beautiful place called Coconut Grove right on the beach. For the rest of the afternoon we sat around, jumped in the water, walked down the beach, played volleyball and soccer, and had another delicious meal for dinner. The next day we woke up early and headed out to Kakum National Park and went on a canopy tour through the rainforest. We walked on eight suspended bridges, some so high it was difficult to see the ground and despite my fear of heights, I had a great time enjoying the gorgeous scenery.  After lunch at a crocodile observation spot, we piled on the bus for the drive home from a very eventful weekend.

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