Ghana Day 6

June 5th, 2012 by becky

We were a little surprised to learn that we had 7-hours of driving ahead of us today. Most of the day would be spent in the sweaty bumpy Land Rover. We did, however, pause to take a few photos whilst driving.

We had seen a few of these smokey compounds along our journey, but didn’t know what they were. Apparently, they are making palm oil. The process is very dirty and smokey. I can’t imagine the health hazards associated with living in one of these compounds.

In every village we pass through, there are signs on the side of the road celebrating someone’s life. If the signs are any indication, life expectancy is Ghana is pretty high. We often see signs with people who passed away in their 80s and 90s.  It is a sign of wealth and respect for the deceased to put up an expensive funeral board, so many of them are brightly coloured and professionally printed.

Even the police need sponsors in Ghana. Each of the road checkpoints (quite frequent, as we passed through 3 or 4 each day), has an associated advertisement. This one is for foam mattresses.

We did pause briefly in our day of driving to have lunch at a vegetarian restaurant in Cape Coast. In the picture above you can see the “white washed” Cape Coast slave castle. It was last restored in 1992. More recently, it is famous for the visit by Barack and Michelle Obama. Michelle’s ancestors left Africa through the gates of this castle.

We ended up with a personal tour because we couldn’t wait for the scheduled one. We didn’t want to be too long as we wanted to get to Green Turtle before dark. We had a really good tour guide, who told us about how the slaves were sold to the colonists by the warring chiefs. We did, however, hear of other guides that told a totally different version of events, that involved the colonists rounding up slaves and oppressing the local people.

It felt very odd being led into each of the dungeons. What was especially weird was the voodoo shrine setup at the end of the male dungeon, as if this were a holy place. In each of the dungeons there were many wreaths of remembrance left by descendants of slaves.

Just like in the time of the slave trade, just outside the gates of the castle, there is an active fishing village. Life outside the castle gates couldn’t be more normal.

After three more hours of driving, we finally arrived at Green Turtle. Here we said goodbye to our driver, Fofo. He hadn’t really signed up to taking us on a week long tour, but he did the job, and never complained about the change in plans. Overall we were happy with our decision to spend six days on a tour, and with the services Jolinaiko Eco Tours offered.  They were very flexible in adjusting to our requests, and we got to see many places in Ghana we otherwise would have missed.

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