This week was my 22nd birthday! On my actual birthday during the week I unfortunately felt a little down. It was very strange to not be home for this day, and I felt quite homesick. My friends here were very kind though, and I enjoyed a “Mexican night” burrito dinner and went to reggae night at Labadi beach. One of the best parts of my first day of being 22 was riding a horse down the beach! I had never ridden a horse before, so my birthday in Ghana alongside the ocean seemed to be a great place for my first time.
During the weekend was when I really celebrated my birthday through traveling with my friends and beach hopping. On Friday I went to Ada Foah, the most beautiful beach that I have ever seen with one side of fresh, river water and one side of the salty ocean. We relaxed and swam under the sun all day and had a great time. At night the moonless and cloudless sky brought hundreds of bright, white stars sprinkled across the blackness. I woke up at 2:30am to take a boat across the river to Ada, and a series of tro-tros back to Legon! After only a few hours of sleep and re-packing, I set off on an STC bus to Cape Coast with a bunch of my girl friends! Since this is one of my favorite places in Ghana, it was perfect for celebrating. We stayed at Oasis Beach Resort again, sleeping in beach bungalows and relaxing on the coast all weekend. It was a perfect stress-reliever and helped me to get over my birthday blues. I decided that I would try really hard to not be homesick during my last few weeks in Ghana because it won’t be long before Ghana is the home that I miss!
During my second week in Ghana I scheduled for my classes and decided to take a trip to Cape Coast, which is a three-hour bus ride west of Accra along the coastline. . It is famous for the old slave castles from the British slave trade out of Ghana. We took a very nice bus for only 6 Ghana Cedi (a Cedi is Ghana’s currency). Since I am an individual student without a program, I travel with other students from the hostel and we figure out travel, accommodation, and the whole schedule of our trip on our own. Although it is quite challenging and never turns out how we planned (which is often the case in Ghana), it is always a fun learning experience. There was about 15 of us international students that went together; it was a mix of mostly British, Canadian and American students. We stayed at the Oasis Beach Resort in thatched-roof hostel-like bungalows literally on the beach! The sand was clean, the beach and resort were beautiful, you could see Cape Coast Castle from the resort, and it was all very affordable!
Cape Coast as a town was great; it was the epitome of relaxed, friendly, no-stress Ghana. It also wasn’t too much of a tourist trap, the locals mingled with us really well and I had conversations with so many people each day. On our second morning in Cape Coast we went on a tour of Cape Coast castle. The castle and its views of the beach were so ironically beautiful. It was overwhelming to step inside of the male (and especially female) dungeons and cells. The stories of colonization and the Atlantic Slave trade literally came to life. The absolute horror that went on in that place is indescribable–but I am indeed glad that Cape Coast was able to still be this peaceful, quiet place in spite of its chilling past.
After a few wonderful days in Cape Coast, a group of five of us went to Kakum National Park, the longest standing Rainforest in Ghana. We stayed in a tree-house overnight in the middle of the Rainforest! It took us 30 minutes to hike up and down hills and through the thick forest to find our campsite. It was so beautiful and adventurous! It was also very, very hot and humid; all of us were sweating so much! We went on a 2-hour night tour before we went to bed, and the most exciting thing that happened in the dark forest was getting attacked by African ants! They were biting us and in our socks but once we got them off we were okay–it was actually quite funny! We fell asleep to the sound of birds, crickets and monkeys calling, and woke up to an early morning canopy walk up high in the trees on rope bridges! It was still foggy in the very tops of the fauna as we walked 100 feet in the air! Kakum was an amazing experience.