Thursday, December 17, 2009

December Excursions

We went on a two day 'getaway' with the Cardons and Dicksons. Here we're in the swimming pool at the Coconut Grove Hotel in Cape Coast - a beautiful town two hours to the west of Accra. These university students wanted us to teach them how to swim - so we did!!! The young man to the right of me is Patrick. He just came to the office today to visit and accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and will attend church with us on Sunday.
This is a slave castle where the African slaves were held while awaiting the ships which took them to the Americas. It was heart wrenching to find out how many there were and how many died at various stages of their journey. Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned is how they would sell each other. Tribal battle winners would sell the losing tribe as slaves to countries north of Africa - even long before Europeans became involved. Criminals were also sold. There were at least 11 million slaves sold and traded. To find out more, look up trans-Atlantic slave trade on google.
The dungeon - actually 5 small rooms where many died during occupancy. The conditions were deplorable. They sometimes were here for two months waiting for the ship. About a third died before even leaving here.
Elder Dickson and Arlon looking out over the cannons to the Atlantic ocean.
The European governor and soldiers lived on the upper floors. There was a church as well, with the dungeon directly below it.

Sister Dickson and me at the women's dungeon door.

Groups of school children go on many field trips. They love to wave at us "obrunis (white people)" and are really fun to talk to.

This is a fishing village right outside the "door of no return" where slaves were led onto ships. This is a very common sight along the coast - a LOT of fishing villages.

The next day we went to Kakum national park which has a canopy walk. It is comprised of 7 rope bridges about 120 feet above the rain forest floor with the trees and vegetation also rising far above the bridges. You can see that it is a 2" x 12" that we walked across between the trees. A bit scary but fun as well. Sister Cardon is just about to depart.

The Dicksons on one of the bridges

Sister Cardon making her way across the swaying bridge.

We take a moment to rest and enjoy the panoramic view of the rain forest. It was very, very humid!!!

Monday found us on another two day excursion with the same couples. We traveled northeast of Accra to the Volta region. Here is Arlon on the balcony of the hotel. It overlooks the dam which creates the largest man made lake in the world (below)

Travel is never dull here. All along the country roads are people walking between villages, many with their goods to sell.

They really know how to load their vehicles. There are a lot of breakdowns both in the country and in the city.

Typical village home although many have thatched roofs as well as having the mud or adobe sides.
we passed at least two to three dozen schools in our 1 1/2 hour drive towards the monkey sanctuary. The kids all wear uniforms and below they are getting ready to line up outside for the pledge to the flag and a song. Then they marched to drum beats into their classrooms.

Several pictures of the monkeys. There were about 50 that came to greet and eat our bananas.

After leaving the monkey santuary we drove another hour and a half then took a 45 minute, humid hike into the Wli Falls....180 feet high. It was beautiful. We hiked out then headed for home. What fun it is to see some of the interesting African sights.