Our first few weeks in Ghana have been wild. Every time we step from our apartment out into the streets, it's an adventure. Even a standard trip to the grocery store is usually an odyssey filled with bizarre sights, new friends, and at least ten stories I want tell everyone back home about. We've definitely been here long enough to make some good first impressions, and as we travel more widely throughout the country in the coming…
After spending the morning swimming and relaxing, after a great night sleeping at Tills Beach House in Gomoah Fetteh, we found a shared taxi to nearby Senya Beraku. This town is home to the Fort of Good Hope, which looks out over the Atlantic, and was built in the 1660s by the Dutch.
We'd been to Labadi Beach in Accra, and although we'd had a lot of fun, we knew that Ghana had other, more beautiful beaches to offer. One of them can be found in the small town of Gomoa Fetteh, about an hour west of the city. Here, we discovered a paradise of soft sand, towering palm trees, and a total lack of other people. It was the perfect place to relax after our first two weeks in Ghana.
To have a fascinating cultural experience aboard a trotro, you don't even have to go anywhere. The hour we spent waiting for our trotro to leave Kaneshi Station for Winneba was excruciating, but provided a steady stream of entertainment, better than any movie... just too bad we didn't have any popcorn. Oh wait, there's a lady outside the window selling some! Perfect, now let's sit back and enjoy the show!
Soccer has a strong tradition in Ghana, but boxing is the sport in which it most excels. This small country has produced a number of champions, and legions of kids attend class in boxing gyms around Jamestown, hoping to become the next Azumah Nelson or Jospeh Clottey. We had the chance to check out one of the training sessions at the Black Panter Boxing Gym, in Jamestown. We were received warmly by the head coach of the…
We hadn't been too impressed during our initial excursion in Osu, Accra's most popular nightlife spot. But that was because we had limited ourselves to Oxford Street. The moment you step off that main drag, the annoyances vanish, revealing an enjoyable neighborhood with plenty of options for fun.
We were excited to learn that Ghana's National Museum was located just minutes away from our house. But our actual visit turned out to be a disappointment. The museum was under renovation, and apparently has been for years. The tour guides said that it would be re-opening in grand fashion later this year, perhaps even July. But that's a ridiculously optimistic prediction at best, and most likely a lie. This place looks closed for good.
Built by the Danes in 1661 as Fort Christiansborg, Osu Castle has long been at the center of Ghana's commercial and political life. From within these white walls, foreign powers have ruled, slaves have been traded, and presidents have lived. We took an excellent tour of the grounds, learning a lot about Ghana's history in the process.
One of the most amazing things about traveling to a new country is how much you can learn about your own. While visiting the Black Star Gate in the center of Accra, I was given a humbling lesson in American history by the security guard on duty. I had never heard of Marcus Garvey and the Black Star Line, but his story was compelling enough to inspire the flag and identity of a foreign country.
Accra might live and breathe in neighborhoods like Adabraka and Osu, but its monumental heart is at Black Star Gate. We were standing in the shadow of this gate when, just meters away, an accident occurred that will play a starring role in our nightmares for years to come.
It's a question we'd never considered before coming to Ghana, but why is it that we all choose to be buried in boring, expensive wooden boxes? This is your death! If there's any time to go overboard, it's now. In Ghana, it's common to be buried in a colorful coffin that celebrates your life. After all, if you've spent your life farming bananas, would you rather be laid to rest in an ugly brown box... or in a bright yellow banana?
If we were to concentrate on just the history of the Republic of Ghana, this post would be concise indeed, because it's only existed as an independent country since 1957. But the region and the people obviously have a history which stretches much further back. Ready for a crash course? Good! Let's cover in five minutes what would properly require an entire college semester.