End of Conference and castle visits
Trip Start Apr 02, 2014
33Trip End May 07, 2014
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Where I stayed
Elmina Bay Resort
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Read my review - 5/5 stars
The meetings started just after 09:00 and we almost immediately had a "light out": a power cutoff. This wasn't so serious this morning since we had finished with the PowerPoint presentations and were wrapping up with a discussion of the upcoming pastoral transfers. Some pastors in Ghana have never transferred since I’ve been coming here in 1998 or so. Others have transferred several times.
Tom went through the plans and worked out various details to everyone’s (mostly) satisfaction. Being transferred is not fun. It’s a lot of work and upset and expense, but experience has shown it allows pastors to better serve their congregations, so we do it in spite of the challenges causes.
After everyone left for home, Tom, the Walkers and I took a taxi to Elmina Castle for a visit. It is quite a fascinating and thought-provoking place. Its historical significance is quite important, and the dramatic story of the many slaves that left here for the Americas and the Caribbean is arresting. Tom and I acted as guides since we’ve been here many times and could explain the most interesting parts quicker than the local guides can do. I’ve noticed that the explanations have evolved over the years, and the guides sometimes speak with great certainty about how things happened, but can’t always quote any source to tell visitors how they know such things. (I often ask guided for sources to check how authoritative they should be considered).
We visited the storage rooms that became slave holding cells, the barracks rooms for soldiers, the governor’s chambers and we walked around the top of the walls to see the view from all sides.
Almost no sooner were we in the taxi than two uniforms showed up and began berating the driver. They wanted a “dash” as they call bribe money here, and they got it. The driver explained as we drove away that he wasn’t supposed to pick up fares where we were, there was a taxi loading zone farther along. But he decided (he didn’t tell us this) that the possibility of a fat western fare was worth the risk.
There is a small tourist market in the entry passage to the castle and Mrs. Walker had a look around for some gifts and souvenirs. She found a brightly-colored smock which she said would fit right in in Latin America!
We had fresh grouper for dinner while we watched the sun sink into the horizon. It’s rather strange for us from North American to watch the sun set at the end of beach, where the land meets the sea. Usually in North American we either see the sun rise out of the ocean or see it set into the ocean. But we are in a place where the coast runs east and west. So the sun rises where the sun meets the sea and sets in the same way (though on the other side of course).
The Elmina Bay would have been close enough to walk to if the beach weren’t being so badly eroded. I was concerned we’d finish the walk in the dark and run out of beach at the same time. Then there’s that place where raw sewage is being piped directly down the beach into the ocean…. We caught a taxi back to the Elmina Bay for, God willing, our last night in Ghana for this trip. Tomorrow we will head back to Accra for our night flights. I will fly directly from Accra to JFK. The others will fly through London.
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