In Ghana we get as excited about the weekends as we do at Westtown. Teaching is fun and I have been learning a lot, but there is no denying that it is exhausting and that by the time Thursday hits we are longing from a break from our energetic students. Ghana is a much slower paced place than America but that doesn’t mean there is a lack of work. Everything simply takes longer because it is done by hand.
On Saturdays we travel to visit historical places in Ghana. We take a cramped, bumpy van ride to the coast to visit slave castles or the rainforest. What I have found the most interesting about these trips, besides visiting the castles themselves, is seeing how the coastal village people live. Ghana has not caught on to the tourism trade and the slave castles have tours but they are not built up in the way you would expect to accommodate tourists; you get to see the local life and markets. The people on the coast live off the ocean, and you can smell the fish in the air. The men are thin and wired with muscle from controlling sails, and the woman are muscular from carrying the fish. Everyone is working hard. There are groups of young children sitting along the rocks sewing nets and drying fish and old sea-worn men patching sales in the shade. They live in grass and wood huts crammed together off the rocky shore. What I thought was really cool about the coast was the boats. They make long wooden canoes and then use a pole and patched together fabric as sales. They are beautiful boats and are often painted by their owners who move them with comfortable skill over the rough waves.
The slave castles dwarf the fishing towns, sitting high on a cliff. They serve as a sad reminder of what happened to Ghana not long ago. The tours are interesting and sad. We are taken through the dungeons and the rooms of no return before we go up and see the contrast of the governor’s quarters. After the tour, we get to shop before heading home for a relaxing evening of hanging out and playing cards with are local friends. This Saturday after touring a slave castle we went to the rainforest to walk on canopy bridges. The bridges are built high above the ground with just ropes and some wooden planks laid across ladders reaching from tree to tree. It was really fun and the people who felt comfortable loved to mess with everyone else by bouncing the rope, luckily we all made it out alive. Sunday is beach day!! We get to travel to one of the few resorts on the coast, eat pizza, swim in the ocean, and relax. I am nice and sunburned so I will have to lotion a lot tomorrow!
I can’t wait to get back to school tomorrow and see all my kids, I can’t believe this trip is almost over!