OK so now we are in Cape Coast. Guess who arrives on the 10th? our very own Pres. Obama! Yeah. The people here are very excited. Everything is being painted and cleaned.
We went to Elmina Castle on our first day. Elmina is not so much a castle as a fort. It is where they held and processed slaves before they shipped out to where ever they would spend the rest of their days. The holding cells were tiny and dark up to 600 men and 400 women were being held for roughly 3 months at a time before being shipped out. To say conditions were bad does not begin to tell the story. When we left we went straight to a little beach side bar to sample the local beer. "Star" beer is delicious and the beach was very soothing.
The next day we went to Kakum National Park for the famed canopy walk. These are rope bridges suspended from the tallest tree tops in the rainforest. It was fun. On our way up to the walk, Dean was attacked by some Army ants. They were vicious buggers. He had to strip his shoes off to kill them. I had a few myself no good and here we were worried about snakes.
That afternoon we headed to a lovely beach, it was overcast and windy but it was so relaxing just to sit on the beach or go for a walk. Srs Sandy and Joan Marie accompanied us. It was hot and humid...very St. Louis like. But once again the beer was cold and refreshing. Dean tried Castle Milk Stout this time. It looks like guiness but is much smoother and quite nice.
Today we actually finally experienced "rainy season" it started last night and continued most of the morning. We went to see Queen of Peace School where Sr. Maryanne is head mistress of 480 kids grades pre-K to junior high. When it is very rainy like this morning, kids and teachers are late but in public schools many kids just don't come to school on those days. This is a private school but the way it is set up, the goverment sets the cirriculum but religious groups fund and administer the schools. Each classroom has up to 50 students with 2-3 teachers. The kids are well behaved and the teachers work hard with groups of 15 or so in different parts of the same classroom. Sr. Maryanne has found the funding to build a new building for computer labs and technical training. She is concerned about the young men and women who work hard but are not able to acheive grades to get into higher education. Her building is 3/4 done but she is out of funding $5000 is all it would take to finish it. But for now they are using the building as it is. They will do anything to help these kids get ready for life.
After Queen of Peace, we went to visit Sr. Antoinette at her public school. She has 45 kids by herself. They have no electricity, no common assembly space and very little resources. Yet we found these 2nd graders sharing books and attentively working on their multiplications. Dean and I were amazed that Sr. Antoinette could leave the room and no one moved or made a noise. Never happen at home.
This afternoon we hunted for an internet cafe. It has been a great adventure so far but wow did we miss the internet. As Dean says " I normally post so often people are going to think I died." We'll kids we gotta head out. Tomorrow we visit a prison (I know, right!) and a compound run by two sisters of mercy. Then we are off to South Africa. Will post tomorrow if possible. Ana says "I miss my dog...and you people too."
Ana and Dean