Monday, July 28, 2008

Me ko America

Hello everyone!
I think this is going to be my last blog before I get home, since I am leaving at 6a tomorrow morning. I'll take a minute to talk about the days of travel that we just had.
Monday we visited Cape Coast castle, which is one of the 2 slave castles in that area. We had a brief tour in the slave dungeons and also of the area where the governor lived. The people were really not treated well. Also, not all of the slaves came from Ghana. Some of them came from as far as Angola, and they walked the whole way. The dungeons didn't have hardly any light and they were never cleaned, so the floors were covered with vomit, urine, etc. However, there was a really nice view of the sea, it was right on the water. A fisherman tried to charge my friends and I 1 Ghana Cedi for snapping him on accident, which we thought was outrageous so we ran away. Then we went to the hotel and lounged for the rest of the day. The hotel had a pool and the rooms were quite nice. As usual, the AFS group got into some crazy antics, such as playing chicken, and spin the bottle, but I was actually asleep at like 9p that night - not cool enough to play games until 4a. My roommate Kerry heard someone running through the halls saying, "it was a dare! It was a dare!" Hmm...

Tuesday in the morning we visited Elmina castle, which is similar in some ways to Cape Coast castle, but it was owned by like the Dutch and the Portuguese before the Ghanaians, versus the CCC which was British. That morning it was VERY VERY rainy. Everyone was kind of running from place to place avoiding it, but Garrett and I felt right at home in the rain :). We then went to a restaurant for lunch, and afterwards we were to stop at the hotel to change clothes for the canopy walk, but somehow ended up going straight to the canopy walk. This is how I ended up hiking in the rainforest wearing a blouse and flip-flops, which complicated matters. However, it didn't really stop me from enjoying it. Kokum National Park has one of 4 canopy walks in the world. It was probably one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Just don't look down if you're afraid of heights. I also bought my first souvenir at the national park, so my total spending for this trip was finally above 15 dollars then.

Tuesday night we stayed at the same hotel again, then Wednesday was travel day. Kumasi is many hours away from Cape Coast. I can't remember exactly, but it was probably like 5. The kids in the back of the bus, which is kind of like the 'popular group' (no... I'm not in it =P) kept us entertained with more kissing games, which once again, I didn't really join in on, but watching is enough fun initself. We got to the hostel pretty late, had dinner, and had a very cool traditional song & dance presentation/lesson, but I will confess that I kept falling asleep for some reason. One of the dancers did tell me that I was great at the booty shaking. Yussss. So, bed early again.

Thursday was our shopping day, so I bought a few things, although still haven't spent more than $75. And this is maybe only because during travel week AFS treated us right and stopped at several supermarkets, where we all stocked up on American junk food. It just seems to taste way better here. Thursday night we stayed at the same hostel again. It wasn't too bad, although in comparison the hotel was a paradise. Kerry's and my room had a concrete floor and the bathroom was outside on the balcony... strange, but you have to appreciate that the climate allows you to brush your teeth outside and enjoy the view (of goats eating garbage, and a barbed wire fence, and a hair salon). Wow, Thursday night was like SO CRAZY. We were playing psychology games (like Mafia, Psychologist, and Snaps) in our room, and these two.. larger girls broke Kerry's bed. Then, we staged a secret mission to counterprank the guys, but I quit after a flying cockroach landed on me. Garrett and this other guy ended up putting snails in group leader Becca's bed (ew) and so group leader Robb pranked them and told them they were being sent home to the US the next day. Garrett actually cried, so funny. Naturally on Friday morning we were all really really tired as most people didn't go to sleep before 4, so we made it just fine through the nice relaxing 6 hour bus ride. It was a really fun week with the AFS group.

OK, Saturday I hung out at home with my family, playing cards and hangman and things like that. In the evening I went for a walk with my brother. Yesterday I went to church for the 2nd time, this time it was a Methodist church, and the whole service was in Twi. I was there for over 3 hours. Despite not understanding Twi that well, I really enjoyed the enthusiasm, singing and dancing. I think they did a confirmation too. I just remember standing up and sitting down a lot. Then in the afternoon we had the AFS celebration thing at the AFS office (one of my brothers and one of my sisters came along). I got my certificate and everything. Nobody was really dancing, so after photo ops, we left and went to the trade fair with like 3 other AFS friends/their siblings. That was pretty fun, then I came home and crashed. It was a long day. So, I'm not sure what I'll do today. I skipped the end-of-stay orientation (shh) so we'll find something to do. Then I get up at like 5 tomorrow morning and well... that's it. I think when I get home to Seattle I will put up some pictures and reflect on everything. Right now I'm feeling really crazy. The month went by so quickly.
Later, Shannon

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