Trip Start Sep 28, 2005
103Trip End Jun 24, 2006
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Miles Travelled: 19230
We are now in Accra, the capital of Ghana on its southern coast. We said goodbye to our truck, guides, and team members today as our 5-week adventure in West Africa is now over. Several of the group are continuing on to Cameroon, Kenya, and even South Africa, and we wish them well. It has definitely been a tough trip, due to the crowded nature of the truck, rough roads, high temperatures and humidity, and lack of western amenities in most of the places we went. We now have a whole new appreciation of the term "dirty clothes"! But in return, we've also been to and experienced remote places in the world that most people will never go to.
On our drive along the coast, we stopped at Elmina and Cape Coast castles. Elmina castle was the first European building in Ghana, built by the Portugese in 1482. Both Elmina and Cape Coast are part of a string of European castles built along the coast to safeguard trade in slaves and gold. Both castles we visited had similar dungeons, trading rooms, and a "door of no return" similar to what we saw on Goree Island in Senegal.
Accra is a big city and is fairly Westernized in most areas. We went to the National Museum where they have a good collection of artifacts as well as an informative section on the slave trade with comprehensive maps. This was made even more real since we had visited some of the slave castles just a couple days ago.
Yesterday, we stopped by a Methodist church just across the street from the museum, and walked in to hear an organ playing Christmas carols and hymns! Of course, Nathan was excited and wanted to stay and listen. Soon, the organist was joined by a choir doing its weekly rehearsal. They were singing a classical (European) piece (might have been Handel), and some African music as well. It was a great juxtaposition reminding us that even halfway around the world, people are worshipping God through music spanning continents, centuries, and cultures.
Today (Sunday), we went back to the same church for the 7:30 AM service in English. It was good to go to church after not having the opportunity for over 2 months. The 2-hour service had a lot of hymn-singing including a Christmas carol, as well as some choir singing. And they had a point where whoever has a birthday this week stood up, and everyone sang them Happy Birthday! I've never seen that in a church service before. The service was BYOMH (Bring Your Own Methodist Hymnal) which of course we didn't have, so a woman behind us was kind enough to lend us hers.
We leave Accra on Monday and fly to back to the Middle East for a short 4-day stopover in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.