We really haven’t gotten lost!

How can 2 days feel like a month has gone by? I started to panic. We haven’t posted a blog. It feels like the team has been here a month but now I realize it has only been a few days. That’s what happens when you have long full days.

Yesterday was a power house of a day. To add even more excitement to the mix, we shared the day with the teachers from Mercia’s preschool. Many of the women have never been as far as Cape Coast (about 150 miles west). They were experiencing everything for the first time, just like the team. So our group of 16 became a group of 34, including three children. Our bus became a tro-tro (Ghanaian Bus) and dinner took more than 75 minutes for everyone to get served. Some people were totally done before other even had the first bite.

We left at 5:30 am to travel for 3 hours to walk the 7 canopy bridges at Kakum park. 29 of us participated in that experience. The US team loved it and made it through all 7 bridges with ease.

Our driver, named Caution, leads several of the ladies to “terra firma”.

Only 6 of the Ghanaians made it past the first bridge. They laughed and teased each other about Grandma Debi telling them to look up and see the butterflies and beautiful scenery when all they could do was hold on for dear life and watch their feet. As for the teens, they had a blast and have written about their adventures–it is somewhere in cyber space at the moment but I hope to retrieve it tomorrow.

After our two hours at the park we visited my favorite sanctuary, the Monkey Forest. Dennis and Annetta left their home in Holland to build a small sanctuary for rescued animals. It’s a great opportunity to see local wild life up close and personal. By the time we left the sanctuary it was 2  o’clock.

Know the amount of time required to get food in any restaurant in Ghana, we chose to continue on to Elmina Castle. This is one of 7 “slave” castles left in the world. From Elmina slaves were shipped to the islands and both North and South America. Both the Ghanaians and the Americans were moved to tears during the visit.

Carolyn Steiner, part of our Reading Camp team, writes of Elmina

Carolyn, in the blue hat, leaves the female slave quarters.

“In many ways I felt it should just be demolished, blown up in fact.  Just being inside those 4 foot thick walls and hearing of the inhumane treatment of people made me cry.  Who needs reminders if that?  On the other hand it is part of  Ghanaian history and our history.  It may need to stand and be seen to prevent such cruelties from occurring again.

There is no doubt that the Ghanian people have risen above that dreadful part of their history and are building better lives for themselves, but, the poverty that exists here in Ghana now is another form of slavery to me.  The world is rich enough for ALL people to have the basics- decent housing, food, and basic education. GMH is trying to touch the lives of women, and through them the children and men to make this happen. So, from the depressed and mournful feeling at the castle, writing this now I can see that perhaps we can be sure that some lives are better as we touch a few children and families while we are here.”

I promise to let you hear from the teens tomorrow night.  Blessings, Debi


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