This year we are so fortunate to have three parent/grandparent – child pairs traveling with us. Ben Spiker, a long standing board member, brought his son Aiden with him. Aiden has grown up with Ghanaian Mothers’ Hope.
On Saturday, the team had the opportunity to travel a few hours from Accra to Kakum National Park in Cape Coast. It was our chance to visit an African Rainforest.
Though in all honesty, I slept through most of the three-hour travel to the park due to jet lag, the variety of sights, sounds, and smells along the way will stay with me for some time. Wither it was the goats and children playing alongside of the road, or the incongruent dilapidated shanty-like villages with massive, state of the art soccer stadiums, I am constantly struck by the brimming opportunity and work ethic of the Ghanaian people.
Kakum National Park boasts a wonderful canopy walk that allows visitor to tour the rainforest canopy at a height of nearly 130 feet.
It includes seven rope bridges spanning 1,080 feet. There was a one-mile trek up a hill before entering the canopy walk. Nine team members climbed with me.
We had fun taking photos of one another as we trekked from tree to tree. This allowed us all of feel like part of the rainforest usually only experienced by the birds and monkeys. What a wonderful day.
We went to the Elmina Castle in the Cape Coast Area. It was a big white fort which looks a bit like a castle originally built by the Portuguese in 1405. It was used to house slaves before shipping them to the Americas. The Dutch won it from the Portuguese and then it was later occupied by the British. Ghana won its independence from Britain in 1957.
We learned a lot about the mistreatment of slaves. They were tortured, sexually abused, and treated worse than animals. The soldiers would put hundreds of slaves in a small cell with no bathroom and little food for more than three months. Two out of every three slaves died in the cells. They were not buried but decomposed right there in the room. There is over three feet of human remains in the cells.
Learning about all of these things makes me feel different in many ways. It makes me feel sad for all who suffered, but it also makes me feel mad that any human could do this to another human. I am glad to have learned all of this.