Jeff and I were very fortunate to have our good friend (and my maid of honor) come visit us. Susie took the summer off to travel all over the world. Before landing in West Africa, she had traveled to Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Spain, and England.
Susie arrived in Accra, Ghana on August 4th where Jeff and I picked her up from the airport. We spent the next few days in Accra eating very, very well. We went to sports themed restaurant named Champs that had chili fries, nachos, and milkshakes. So good!!! We also tried to get visas for both Mali and Burkina Faso. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time for the Mali visa and when we went to the Burkina Faso embassy, they were closed because it happened to be their indepedence day! In Accra, we found comfortable and cheap accomodations at the Prison Ministry. Yep, the Prison MInistry. At first I thought it might be the government agency that oversees the prisons, but it is actually a group of protestant ministers who preach and work with people in jails.
We left Accra and headed to Cape Coast where we visited old slave forts. The Portuguese built the forts and then were later taken over by the British. The Africans who went through these forts were sold into slavery in the New World, including the American colonies. We saw the fort at Cape Coast and the fort in Elmina, which is the oldest European structure in West Africa. From Cape Coast, we took a trip to the Kakum National Park where we got to walk in the canopy of the rainforest on suspension bridges. I was a little nervous to walk on the rope bridges, but I remembered the suspension bridge work we did at the Igo, and tried not to look down.
After two nights and two days in Cape Coast, we headed north to Kumasi, the heart of Ashante land. Kumasi is very developed town and has lots to offer. We visited the Ghana Military Museum, that had lots and lots of guns, including bazookas. We also saw the king’s palace and learned more about the Ashante kingdom. The kings are picked through matrilineal succession, meaning from the mother’s side. So the king’s son wouldn’t be the next king. It would be his sister’s son. They are very wealthy… Ashante land is famous for its gold.
We decided to take a 24 hour bus to Ouagadougou in Kumasi. It was crowded, hot, and the driver started playing movies and music at 10pm. I didn’t get any sleep and couldn’t wait to get to Burkina Faso.