Sarah's Ghana Service Blog

Set 2 of 2 from our day at Cape Coast on the 8th.

After the monkey reserve, we went to a great restaurant on the beach where we were able to watch a fantastic local dancing and drumming group perform. It was amazing to see such local flavor and color, and we all enjoyed every minute of it! 

Set 1 of 2 from our eventful trip to Cape Coast on the 8th - I know, I know, I’m WAY behind on posting pictures. So many photos, so little time! And an unreliable Internet connection!

For this day trip we first went to Kakum National Park, a rainforest reserve near Cape Coast. Being a big fan of national parks in the states, it was great to visit a national park in another country. I loved the walk through the rainforest to get to the walkway - though I wish we could have gotten there earlier, there was a big, noisy group right behind us. It would have been nice to take it slow and enjoy the area, but once we got up on the bridges they spaced us out. If I had done this three years ago, I think I would have been frozen in fear, but thank goodness for high ropes course training at the zoo! Bearing that in mind, I was able to fully enjoy the walkway, taking photos and videos even while wobbling my way across the foot wide plank of wood that served as the floor of the bridge. The best part was watching other people react, I think! It was over too quickly, though, and I wish we could have done it again. Charlotte and I saw a sign advertising an overnight stay in the rainforest at a campsite - flashlights and machetes supplied, of course. What I wouldn’t do to give that a try!!

After the rainforest we went down the road to a small wildlife sanctuary (the name escapes me at the moment), where we were finally able to get up close and personal with some of Ghana’s furrier inhabitants. The Dutch couple who ran the place were great, if a little eccentric. Their original plan was to start a guest house - but, as the woman pointed out, the guest house remains incomplete and the grounds have turned into a wildlife sanctuary with patas monkeys, civets, hyraxes, parrots, a duiker, mongoose, snakes, and turtles.  A colony of weaverbirds moved in a few years ago, and have since taken over every tree on the property. It’s a beautiful spot set against a hill, the top of which overlooks the surrounding rainforest and town. I spoke to the couple a bit about their experiences in wildlife rehab - like in so many developing countries, it’s extremely difficult to implement a successful species protection program when most of the population is too poor to care about whether or not their dinner is an endangered species. Poaching is rampant, and without the proper resources to enforce species protection laws, there’s not much that can be done about it. To address the problem, this couple has focused on encouraging citizens to bring any animals orphaned by hunting to their center, inciting them with a small reward (5 cedis - or roughly $2.50 US dollars). It’s a fine line to walk - make the reward too big, and people will make a business of bringing in baby animals, make it too small and nobody will bother to bring them in. The program seems to be fairly successful, as the newly rescued baby civet in a basket on a table attested. I wish we could have stayed longer, and I’d love to go again!

More beach time!

Out on the town! These photos are from this past Tuesday, when we put in our orders to have our African clothing made =) 

Bear with me as I try to catch up on uploading photos from the past week!

Challenging Heights, where children of all ages are given the chance to take their futures into their own hands. Here, they are given the most valuable gifts a child can receive: love, education, and hope.

Living the hostel life. I could get used to this.

They say a picture says a thousand words, so here’s the equivalence of 10,000 words to describe the the beauty of our home away from home. And here’s a little more besides, to help make up for my lack of descriptive blog posts ;)

These photos are from our first trip to the beach Sunday afternoon, and I have to say the Atlantic looks different from African shores. There are no pink-skinned tourists getting pinker under the sun, no worried mothers slathering their babies in sunscreen, no life-guard perched on a lofty seat.  There’s nary a hot-dog vendor or tiki bar in sight - not even a single parasol. It feels like we’ve stepped back in time, to a place where tanning is unheard of and sunscreen laughable, where the palm trees lining the coast bear the scars of decades of fishermen tying up heavy nets, and where massive longboats loom above the tideline like scarred sentinels standing guard on the shore. I think it’s these boats that capture my attention and imagination the most. They are so foreign to me, a reminder that the world we’ve come into is one that is much harsher than the one we left a week and a half ago. The boats are rough-hewn and exhibit the marks of the craftsmen who built them, and the drag marks that lead to each one is evidence that they are used nearly every day, dragged out as the tide recedes to spend another day on the rollicking waves, helping their masters eke out a living on the sea.  Maybe I’m romanticizing it a bit, but I can’t help but be captivated by these silent guardians of the beach and wonder at the stories their scarred hulls have seen.

Our first day in Winneba (yesterday)…needless to say, I had my camera glued to my face the whole time. =)

More photos from the last few days (apologies for the brief blog posts, we have limited Internet access!)

First few days - plane flight and Olympic tryouts! Ghana was doing very well and won several events!