Day 2 – Arrival in Cape Coast

after a rather relaxed nite i awaken to the sound of the ‘cock’ crowing…

by 7am i am off to Cape Coast – the base of my stay for this journey. i am taken there by Ben who is a relaxed and quiet “brother” ( the term brother became more expansive as i continued on this journey)


Cape Coast is located in the central region of Ghana – about two and 1/2 hours from Accra and houses the infamous Cape Coast Castle along with many forts…


along the way i also see Ft Amsterdam which originally was a Dutch castle taken over by the British… Ben asks if i wish to stop to visit, but i am compelled to continue on…noting the Ft’s existence and my interest in visiting it on my way back to Accra…

i arrive at the Cape Coast hotel which is an impressive ‘castle’-like complex on many acres of land…

by the afternoon i am on my way into ‘town’ to find an internet cafe and make some calls…


however by the end of my walk i find no internet cafe; instead i have made it to the beach ajoinining the Cape Coast Castle – a two hour leisurely walk that i had no intention of originally embarking on…

at the beach i am greeted by a couple of conscious brothers who flatter me with compliments on my style and chat with me about their particular artistry/crafts…one is a painter, the other a wood carver and then later l meet a visual artist…they dialogue with me about pan-africanism, garvey, rastafarians and, of course, about black americans returning HOME TO GHANA…

i take down their information and continue on to the castle…


i am in awe of its presence and i simply immerse myself in its surroundings, spatial configurations and general sensations…i decide not to go inside but take in its outer walls and the ocean

i cannot speak on any of this at the moment as the magnitude of this historical figure renders me speechless…


i later head to the shops located in the castle foreground and meet my first attached ‘hustler’ who wishes me to become my ‘son’…i use the term hustler to refer to the many young and old men around the castle and throughout my stay who seek out americans, tourists and anyone whom they think will be able to help them out in some way…

i will refer to this first hustler as ‘son’…and he attaches himself to me throughout the rest of the day and into the evening, as i proceed to be charmed by him and his story…i take him to lunch and dinner….

later reflections:
(on the first interaction with the brothers at the beach)
i am impressed with their ‘merchandise’ and find out later that perhaps 1 or none of them actually made the items they were wishing to sell…in fact the ‘visual’ artist asks to meet me at my hotel the next day to show me more of his paintings — only to find out he does not have a clue as to holding a brush to canvas…

D UNDERBELLY Home page

Advertisements

Day 1 In Ghana – AKWAABA

12 hours later, after much delay, pomp and circumstance, i arrive to thousands of black people staring at me….

could not locate my contact by sign, face or smile, so i was provided with a phone and an escort/transport to my lodging by one of the all too happy to help me attendees…on the way to the lodging, he introduced me to his family, where he lives, his good friends, trustworthy bank…always with a big smile …

he removed his uniform top to reveal a t-shirt that said CHICAGO – my hometown and he became my brother in spirit and friendship…named emmanuel meaning godsend…he told me of his mother’s funeral happening in a couple of days and his father’s death two years ago while handing me a photo and obituary…

at the end of this exchange, with all friendly measures, he asks for $180, 000 cedis…i find out two hours later that that was more than TWICE what he should have charged!

i gave him a I LOVE NY T -SHIRT and he gave me a very important introductory lesson in GHANAIN FRIENDSHIP…

D UNDERBELLY Home Page

D UNDERBELLY has entered Ghana!

Background info on Ghana:  

  • First sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence
  • Democracy with full and fair elections
  • 2007 is Ghana’s Golden Jubilee celebration of fifty years of independence
  • Well endowed with natural resources, Ghana has twice the per capita output of the poorer countries in West Africa 
  • The domestic economy revolves around subsistence agriculture, which accounts for 50% of GDP and employs 85% of the work force, mainly small landholders

Image from a typical EWE village. 

 

 The courtyard of a coastal Ghana holding prison or “slave castle”, built in 1480 for Africans awaiting transport to the Americas.

All slaves brought to a castle were put into a windowless dungeon down a hole underground.  The only way in or out was through this trap door and hole.   The pit is pitch dark when the trap door is closed.

D UNDERBELLY home page