After living in Ghana for six weeks I have really adapted to some parts of the lifestyle. My blog posts for example are being posted on Ghana time. Some might call it procrastinating, I guess I just like to look at the glass half full.
Our weekend in Cape Coast was one of my favorite experiences during my time in Ghana. Aside from the beautiful resort and hot showers, we did a lot of exploring and interacting with locals.
Communication was slightly more challenging than our usual 2-3-phrase exchange in Twi because people in this area primarily speak Fante, although we managed to do okay and have a lot of fun with them. All of my best experiences in Ghana have happened while wandering the streets and meeting new people. Bus tours and museums are great, but nothing quite compares to just simply living amongst Ghanaians.
I’m not sure there are enough words to describe the amount of cuteness when describing the children in Ghana and their enthusiasm for seeing us Obrunis. They sang to us, “Obruni, How are you? I am fine, Thank you!” That never got old. As we were walking down the streets they would rush up singing, giving us high fives and hugs to welcome us. I couldn’t help but think about when I was that age and how it was constantly drilled into my brain not to talk to “strangers.” I can’t imagine my parents’ reaction to me running off to hold hands and talk with a random person on the street.
The sense of community and trust in Ghana is overwhelming, I never expected to be welcomed the way we were.
We also toured two castles in the area from the Atlantic Slave Trade, Elmina, and Cape Coast. It was a powerful and overwhelming experience; we were guided through the dungeons, condemned cells, and the doors of no return while hearing the stories behind them. It was hard to imagine anyone could have survived in the conditions the slaves were kept in, and standing in the rooms where many people died made it that much more real.
Things were put into a bit of perspective when only 18 of us stood in a cell without lights and the doors closed (as it would have been) for a brief minute; it was extremely claustrophobic and uncomfortable. Hundreds of people were kept in these cells for months at a time without seeing the light of day, water, or a proper bathroom. We were shown a mark on the wall of how high the feces had built up. It was astonishing.
The most impactful moment of this experience for me was at the end of the second tour when the guide gave a closing speech about learning from our past mistakes and moving forward in unity no matter where it is you come from. Her words and this experience will always resonate with me, and I am glad I was able to learn more about this part of history.