A Travellerspoint blog

The Wine, The Whine

6 °C

So, this is Dean at the keyboard, so the recap will probably not be as detailed or well written.

We got up the day before yesterday and drove ourselves out to the wine country, Stellenbach, to be exact. We were booked for a 10:30 tour and had left ourselves plenty of time to get there. All was looking well until we actually got to town and we were driving in circles trying to find the Stumble Inn. After some local help we found it, just in time to catch our tour.

We boarded a small mini bus with about ten other folks in our van and ten more in another van. We drove on a tour of four wineries and had lunch in between the first and last two. The wines were wonderful a the scenery was amazing. They were similar to California vineyards. It is winter, so there were not any grapes growing or being harvested. We were feeling a little tipsy from the first winery and they gave us really large samples. We got five samples at each winery. We had a great lunch on a terrace overlooking a beautiful mountain and the vineyards. I was so glad that I didn't have to be driving or I wouldn't have been able to drink at all. Also had cheese tastings at one and I specifically remember one blue cheese that was out of this world. At the last winery we saw a rainbow to cap off our day....

Back to the hotel where we had to take a quick cat nap and then got up to hit a place for dinner. We had pizza. Ana scraped the toppings off her's and just ate those. Went back to go to bed. We still haven't been sleeping quite on the right schedule yet and so both tossed and turned a while before falling asleep.

The whine is since Ana already typed up this day and our last day in Cape Town, but it died on her so it got lost.

Cheers for now.

Posted by Anadean 09:54 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

Made it to Cape Town, South Africa

so we flew all night acutally watched 17 Again...yes I just admitted that. Arrived in Cape Town at 11AM. We were so impressed with ourselves, renting a car, getting our directions straight....then curses! Car starts smelling and smoking and stalling...not good. So we pulled into some driveway. I befriended a lovely old lady who is an artist because we needed a phone to call Thrifty. We had NO ATT service, sadness. So anyway nice lady makes me a cup of coffee while dean waits with car. Long and short of it, Thrifty was lovely. they brought us a new tiny car within 30 minutes. We were only blocks from our hotel so it was great.

Once we regrouped, we headed for Table Mountain. Dean did a magnificant job of driving a stick shift up hill from the right side of the car on the left side of the streets. No deaths, crashes or smoking engines. We took a cable car up the mountain. It took us up 1200 meters in less than 5 minutes. Fantastic views everywhere you looked. You could see all of Cape Town, Robben Island (where Mandela was held) and the entire cape. We did some hiking and shot tons of pictures of course. It was lovely.

We are all set to spend the day at the wineries tomorrow. Should be nice. It's 70 and sunny no humidity, quite different from Ghana.

Off to dinner. more tomorrow if access available.

Posted by Anadean 09:31 Comments (1)

prison and flood

So this morning bright and early we headed to Ahotokrom. There we visited Srs. Pat and Monica. They are missionary sisters from Ireland. They have been serving in Ghana for 27 years. They take care of the people who suffer from leprosy. Over the years they have also taken in orphans, the elderly and pretty much anyone else in need. Sr. Monica practices Endorphine release massage which helps relieve nerve pain. she has a reputation in the community for helping people with spasms, pain and nerve damage. It's an impressive campus unfortunately as soon as we arrived, torrential rains started. So much so fast the water even came into the house. So we were unable to meet all the people they work with.

From there we went to visit a prison. Not many are allowed to do this but Sr. Joan Marie is good friends with the prison chaplin. Fr. Joe works at a prison with 880 prisoners. They are housed in 8 dorm rooms that's right check the math...that's 110people per dorm room. Some on bunk beds others sleeping on the floor. they are served two meals a day and some are allowed out on chain-gangs to do work. This prison is for those prisoners who have served 2/3 of their sentence. As long as they have good behavior the last 1/3 of their sentence is forgiven. If they miss behave they are sent back to the high security prison. Father does his best to help them prepare for their release. many will return to families that will disown them because they are ashamed. He also mediates issues of mistreatment of the prisoners.

After a quick lunch we headed to the airport in Accra. What normally takes two hours turned in to four. Why you wonder...remember the torrential rains. Yes the road was completely flooded out at one point. It took us an hour to cross 400 feet of road. The car flooded inside and we had to be pushed across by locals. We made it safe and sound after drying out. Tonight we fly to south africa. Hope life is good for you all.

More soon.

Posted by Anadean 11:18 Comments (0)

Cape Coast

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."

Later,
Ana and Dean

Posted by Anadean 06:57 Comments (4)

At Last the INTERNET

We miss it so

So sorry. Yes we are alive and well in Ghana. We just have not had access to the internet. So I will be writing a rather long note to catch you all up.

July 3 we arrived at the Accra, Ghana airport. From there we took a cab to Nsawam. There is a nice highway for part of the trip but they are doing construction so we spent an hour navigating what I would loosely call a "road" for 2 miles until we could return to the highway. We spent 2 days at the Orthopedic Clinic Campus where my SSND are located.

The campus holds space for up to 120 residents- children and adults who have had amputations, serious corrective surgeries for birth defects and others who are coping with physical restrictions related to polio. The medical team here divides the whole country into 4 regions. They go out on trek for 1-3 weeks, evaluating and planning for treatment and transport of people who need to come to the clinic. The staff help people rehab after surgery. They build all their own prostetics, braces and shoes for those who have amputations or need supportive braces. The patients are on campus for several weeks or months depending on the rehab support they need. All the children attend school on campus during the day. They have a house mother that helps them. Many of these children are from very remote areas. They have lost a limb from accidents or injuries that were not treated when they occured. This may be the only time they are able to attend school.

On Sunday, we swam with 9 boys in the pool. These boys all of whom have lost at least one if not both legs are graceful and fiercely courageous. We had so much fun, driving, swimming and chasing after them. Dean and I were exhausted but the boys could have gone on for hours.

We also visited the Notre Dame Medical Clinic. People line up at the clinic starting at 7am. Staff starts seeing people at 7:30 and their day does not end until every person in line is seen. On the day we were there they saw 214 patients and considered it a slow day!!!! They see everything from burns, colds, bone breaks and women in labor. It is an amazing network of triage and treat mini centers. They only have beds for 3 patients. They have built a building to create a labor and delivery center but are looking for funds to get beds and staff. The need is great the money is little. But they are absolute optomists. Somehow someway they will get it built.

Alright. I'm goint to post this before this computer freaks out. more in a minute.

Posted by Anadean 06:32 Comments (1)

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