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.
In nearly every place we visit, the cuisine makes up an integral part of our experience. There's a lot to be said for visiting the monuments, learning the history, and meeting the people, but I almost feel like we understand a place best through its food. So feed us, Ghana! We want to know you...
As agreed upon with Emmanuel after our weekend tour of Jamestown, we showed up on Wednesday afternoon at the doors of the Jamestown Gbekebii school, ready to meet the kids. Well, at least we thought we were ready. From the moment we stepped inside, we were swarmed by dozens of children and their curious, grabby little hands. It was unlike anything we've ever experienced. The school is a project of necessity. From what we gathered, the community of fisherman…
Considering how often we've heard it mentioned as the most entertaining street in central Accra, where many of its best bars and restaurants are congregated, we had high hopes for Oxford Street. But expectations are duplicitous beasts. Set them low, you'll usually be pleasantly surprised. Set them high, and well... Anyway, let's take a tour of Oxford Street.
La Beach is Accra's main spot for fun in the sun. We visited on a Sunday afternoon, when the beach is at its busiest, and discovered a scene of such surreal energy, that we couldn't help but have a blast. Come and tour La Beach with us! It's gonna be a party.
Normally, it's good to stick to your principles. But there are times when the correct course of action is to take stock of a situation, and bend accordingly. This happens more often than usual when you're in a foreign country. And when you're traveling in Africa, it's practically the only way to get along. Today, we violated our sacred practice of ignoring bothersome local "guides" ... and it was the best decision we could have made.
Ghana's capital city, Accra, is a sprawling, chaotic metropolis of 2.27 million souls. Actually, let's make that 2.27 million and two, because for the next month, Jürgen and I will be calling it home, as well. We arrived on a sweltering afternoon in late January, tired from a long journey, but eager to get out there and start making some first impressions.
Heralded as one of Africa's friendliest and most stable countries, Ghana is going to be our home for the next three months. This will be our first time in Africa, and we couldn't be more excited. We plan on diving right in, and immersing ourselves in the country's culture, cuisine, and history. We'll hopefully get to meet some of the locals ... and we'll definitely be eating loads of fufu. The next 91 days are going to be a wild ride.