Day 1

After a long plane journey (almost a day’s worth of sitting on the plane) and some lost luggage, we safely made it to Accra, Ghana. Upon departing the plane, the heat was definitely noticed. A couple helpful men from the airport helped us load our tubs onto the crowded van. We had to squish into and although it was uncomfortable, I’m pretty sure we all agreed that heading straight to the house and being able to settle in/cleanse up was worth it.

I heard somebody say that it was about 6:30 AM when the girls woke up (Friday). We didn’t really sleep because of the cock-a-doodling roosters, barking dogs, chattering men, chirping crickets, and blasting heat. But I eventually made up for it on our 3-hour ride (one way) to the Cape Coast Castle.

The castle was BEAUTIFUL as it overlooked the Atlantic Ocean. It was painted white and there was a row of cannons aligned outside. There were cannon balls just left outside as it must’ve looked from decades ago because it looked rotted. The sun was gleaming and it was hot, but there was also a humid breeze. There were a ton of mini shops and restaurants located around the castle and a ton of lively people walking around as tourists.

At the slave castle, we were paired up with a very one-of-a-kind tour guide. I forget what his name is but he had a very theatrical personality and mentioned many religious statements.

Although we read about slavery in books, this tour experience was certainly one-of-a kind in that it made one feel as if he or she was actually held captive in the dungeons; especially when our tour guide turned off all the lights to allow us to put our feet in the shoes of the slaves’ that were once imprisoned in those steep, dark, crowded, congested dungeons. There was not a crack of light creeping through the windows, and not a bit of noise. I could only imagine myself hearing the cry of women as they tried to scrape the walls with rocks to break through. I could only imagine how difficult it must have been to avoid stepping on any poop or pee that was left on the ground by the 150 men or women in each tiny dungeon. And I could only imagine the number of days the slaves counted in hope of being released…until they no longer had energy to. The slaves must have had a lot of strength and hope to stay alive.

Then our tour guide led us to “The Door of No Return” which symbolized the slaves’ inability to return to Ghana after exiting the door. When the slaves exited the door, they were led onto a boat that traveled through the Caribbean’s and onto the Americas. Later on, we also learned that the “The Door of No Return” was changed to “The Door of Return” to welcome Ghanaians back to their homeland.

For lunch, we went to Café Beach Restaurant and the food took forever to arrive. But it was good and worth the wait! I ordered scrambled eggs with toast while many others ordered culturally enriching meals like curry and grilled fish… kind of wish I ordered the same. After lunch, we went to the markets and shopped around for about 20 minutes. Biggest learning tip for the day: when in doubt, walk away. If the seller is not willing to bargain, I learned that it is best to just walk away and he/she will eventually ask you to come back and buy their product for the price that you asked.

Now, we’re eating dinner (Jollof with chicken) and some people are learning how to play the drums. It is quite lovely and relaxing this evening. Jollof=fried rice with lots of mixed vegetables. It is delicious!!!

P.S. Parents, we are safe and having lots of fun. You have nothing to worry about! :)