Friday, March 19, 2010

Cape Coast: Cloth, Castles, and Coconut Grove

This morning we rose and left Accra around 7:30 am and arrived at Cape Coast at 10:30am. First, we attended the Batik Workshop. Here, you select a cloth and then put patterns onto it using wax. After this, the cloth is dyed another color and the patterns show through in the original fabric color. It is a brilliant way to learn about Ghanaian culture (through the symbols we selected). It was also interesting to our group, who discussed ways to improve the workshop's business practices (it took over 2 and a half hours to complete everyone's cloth, we had ideas on how this could be expedited).


Following this, we visited two of the castles connected with the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. We learned of the history of the slave trade in Western Africa and saw firsthand where slaves were kept. This was a very somber and reflective experience for many in attendance. The castles sat perched atop the beautiful coastal landscape, yet housed indescribable horrors. Adding even more to the ironies was the prominence of the churches (usually within yards of the slave dungeons). Below are a myriad of sights from the Cape Coast Castle and then the Elmina Castle.

The slave dungeons were evocative and striking in every way; they smelled, looked, and felt like a different time. One of the main themes we heard at both castles was that it is important to visit and remember these sites. That way, it never happens again. Humanity can learn from the slave trade never to deny others their humanity and to prevent injustices today.


At the close of the day, our guide Jorge (the most amazing guide in the world, by the way) had African dancers come to our hotel (the scenic Coconut Grove Beach Resort) and put on a show for all of the guests. It was definitely lively! It was also a good way to close out what had been a long day. Below, Salima interviews Vasaundra and Neil about our day.

*Don't worry, we took lots of pics, but we weren't able to load them today. We will have updates with more pics when we return.

Tomorrow is our last full day in Ghana. We leave at 7:00am and have another full day of events before our 3 hour drive back to Accra. Well, you know the drill, time for sleep.. Hello Mr. Mattress, have we met yet?..

Reflecting on the day,
Kelley in Ghana 2010

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