Reflecting on the weekend I just experienced, fresh memories immediately flood into my head, memories of Cape Coast. There was a lot to experience in a mere 3 day getaway, October 22-24. Our group had always resolved to travel to the south-western coast of Ghana since the beginning of our arrival.
All of us in Koforidua (where we were staying) , Viviane, Disa, Jake, Ali-Chuma and myself decided that this would be fruitful expedition and when we had the opportunity to go, we seized it. Saturday morning in Koforidua we ventured off early in the morning to the tro-tro station in anticipation to spend the evening in Cape Coast, knowing the trip would be long one. Seven hours were spent on the bumpy roads until we finally arrived at our desired destination. I knew we were in the city when I spotted the ocean and crowds of people thronging either side of the street. Let me tell you, Cape Coast is a busy place, and the population is quite dense. This was increasingly noticeable after stepping out of the tro-tro and having to weave around people to get to the hostel we were going to unload our baggage and stay the night. That evening was spent relaxing and unwinding on the roof of the hostel which conveniently had a bar/restaurant where we could indulge our collective appetite. The other main YCI team from Takoradi also came to meet us there and we reminisced on what we all had done in Ghana so far. It was nice to meet Victoria, Heather, and Melissa again since it had been a month since I last saw them.
Sunday morning the trip took a new turn, with renewed momentum, when the group and I went to Cape Coast Castle. This is the historic site where the British kept a bulk of their African slaves before they were sent to the Americas in bondage. I experienced many moments of solemn reflection when our tour guide showed us all the different appendages to the building and their respective functions. “What a travesty to think such a monumental injustice was committed against humanity” was the main thought that lingered in my mind. Lest anyone would forget such historical events and the lessons they should impart on anyone that hears them. Let me switch the mood to a lighter note though, considering our trip did not end there. After Cape Coast Castle, we walked to other tourist spots which included two other forts the British built and used to defend their outposts against other competing European powers. After walking and sightseeing all these historical buildings, we wisely decided to sit walk along the beach, the ocean breeze feeling very refreshing against the skin, until we arrived at an organic juice bar run by friendly Rastafarians. That juice was thirst quenching, I decided that it was high-quality after sipping some of Ali-Chuma’s mixed pineapple and ginger concoction. The day was fulfilling, but it was time to go to sleep early since tomorrow morning, we would travel to Kakum National Park.
In the early hours (6 a.m) on Monday morning we met up in the hostel lobby and walked to the tro-tro station. Taking the next tro-tro, we traveled north for an hour until we arrived at our destination. We arrived early and the park didn’t open for another fifteen minutes, which turned out to be unexpectedly convenient timing since Viviane had just spotted a local coffeehouse outside the entrance. Again, a group of compassionate Rastafarians invited us to taste some of the home-grown organic coffee and everyone is impressed by heartiness and full-bodied flavor. Fresh coffee is not a common drink in Ghana so we were surprised to find such a place.
After this relaxing break, we walked to the park and our guide introduced us to the canopy walk, where each one of us marches in single file across lofty bridges suspended across the enormous trees. The view was stunning throughout the walk. The abundance of green foliage that surrounded me was definitely an impressive sight to see and I was struck with a sense of how majestic nature is. Despite how exciting our trip was, we knew we had to leave soon to get back to Koforidua at a decent time. All-in-all though, our adventure to Cape Coast was great and everyone enjoyed it thoroughly.
Back in Koforidua, the remainder of the week consisted of each one of us planning for the different events we are to put into action throughout the rest of the month. These activities include our anti-malaria campaign in Yensiso that is occurring next week, World AIDS day and a job fair catered specifically to the mentors. Personally, my favourite time of the work day is that point where we usually wind-down, around 4pm. This is the time when Mama Augusta comes prepared with a different dish for dinner. The portions are always generous and whatever it is we’re eating, it always tastes delectable, even better than what any restaurant serves in Koforidua. Yesterday however, on Thursday was a particularly special dinner, since it involved beef for the first time. Beef is not usually included in any common dish since the meat is considered more expensive than the regular chicken or goat but since Viviane and Disa requested it, Mama Augusta delivered it along with fried plantain banana slices, cocoa yams and a delicious tomato-based sauce to top up the deliciousness. Everyone whole-heartedly agreed that this was an extremely scrumptious meal and my mouth is already watering, wondering about what I’m going to eat today.
– Nick Percy, Youth Ambassador, Ghana 2011
For more volunteer blogs, check out our Travel Diary category.