20th and 21st August:
CAPE COAST! It’s recommended as a must for at least one of your weekend trips whilst staying here in Ghana and so that was how we’d decided to spend my first free weekend!
Wake up was earlier than usual (hello 5.30am!) which provided more than enough time to pack a rucksack for the weekend and then get to the coach stop for 7. The coach, which was due to depart at 7.30, ended up leaving at 8.30 and took three ice-cold, air-conditioned hours to get to Cape Coast. Sleep on the coach was not an option given the excessively loud Ghanaian comedy that was playing on the TV screens (it wasn’t in the slightest funny)... also you felt EVERY bump so had you not had piles before that trip you were certain to have developed them over the course of the journey!
Arrival was met with blistering heat so on went the sun cream before heading to Cape Coast Castle, the most famous slave trade outlet in all of West Africa. The tour was basic but informative and included seeing the male and female slave dungeon, which were shockingly lacking both in terms of their size and light provision. We also saw the “torture chamber” and two well-constructed museums. After the tour we met with other Projects Abroad volunteers for lunch [including first time introductions with Olivia (21, Cornwall, Journalism), Matt (27, Care Project) and a bunch of the football coach volunteers from the UK, as well as being properly introduced to Victoria (21, Canada, Human Rights / Care) who I briefly met on Induction Day].
Lunch was followed by heading to the Oasis beach resort to check-in. My bed was literally four metres from the sea in a quaint little straw-roofed beach hut and that night I drifted off to the sound of the calming waves. Before bed, however, exploration was on the cards and as such the group split; half of us (including myself) went exploring, whilst the remainder sunbathed. The explorers took a long walk up to the tops of both Fort William and Fort Victoria, two separate remnants of war time defence, from which the views were BREATH-TAKING! You could see the entirety of Cape Coast: from the Lagoon, to the sea, to the palm trees and greenery that Accra seriously lacks, right down to the intrinsically designed churches that Ghanaians take so much pride in building.
Heading down to the sea front was accompanied by the now all too familiar calls of “Obroni! Obroni!” (“foreigner”) but on the whole the town was a lot more low-key, lacking the bustling noises of the much busier Accra... it was peaceful and scenic, and relaxed us in preparation of an evening of food, drink and good company. This, followed by a great night’s sleep, sounds of the ocean and my first mosquito-bite-free night, made for a very happy Dale.
Another early start on the Sunday was required to beat the tourists to the local National Park. The group had unanimously decided that we couldn’t come to Cape Coast without doing the 40m high canopy walk. Acrophobic (afraid of heights) or not, we were bundled into a tro, which took an hour to get to Kakcum, where we met our guide. [A sudden realisation occurred: I’d left my watch at the resort, which panicked me to no end... I was lucky enough to retrieve it on the return journey and would like to thank the honesty of the maid who found it and didn’t keep it!].
The canopy walk itself involved sights from the simplicity (but ingenuity) of trees that produce their own natural mosquito repellent right through to the extreme complexity of a rickety rope bridge that could hold the weight of two elephants (roughly 8 tonnes!). We didn’t get the chance to see any wildlife due to most of it being nocturnal; however, the experience was well worth the 15 Cedis we paid for it (£7.50).
The journey home was long and unadventurous although I did get the opportunity to try plantain chips (large fried banana crisp-esque things) as well as a delicious, tennis-ball-sized snack that reminded me of a cross between a hard doughnut and a croissant. Upon arrival back at Mrs. Afrifa’s we were greeted with dinner and a new housemate, Vanessa (20, London, Ghanaian born but moved to England when young), before tiredness set in – it was time for a good night’s sleep in preparation for week two!
Only 29 days now until I go to Ghana, to Cape Coast! starting to wonder who I'm going to be staying with and what my host family will be like...If anyone else is going to be in Abura, Cape Coast in Aug/Sept please help me! what are you taking and where are you staying?! Eeek! Excited!
Volunteers at the Asiebu clean-up in Cape Coast
The beginning of August kicked off with our last group of 2-week specials of the year. 18 young men and women from all over the world came together in Cape Coast to paint the inside and outside of Children’s Home of Hope Orphanage.
By painting in the morning and caring for the children in the afternoon, everyone got a really fulfilling volunteer experience. The orphanage is located in Aseibu, a village just outside of Cape Coast. There are 18 children who live at Children’s Home of Hope and many more children in the community. The orphanage serves as a community center for these children, and from day to day, there can be anywhere from 20 – 40 children hanging about. The volunteers played football, blew bubbles, and did educational games with everyone and the kids were naturally delighted.
On the weekend, the volunteers got to experience some of the culture Cape Coast has to offer. They toured the Cape Coast Castle, did the canopy walk at Kakum National Park, and had a relaxing afternoon by the pool at Coconut Grove Beach Resort. At dinner on Saturday night, they were treated to a drumming concert and even learned some African dancing. All in all, everyone had a fun cultural experience, and felt relaxed and restored for their last week of painting and care work.
By Jenny Shulman
Visit Our Main Sites
Be Our Friend