Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ghana Day 2

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tonight I feel like a drowned, wilted, unkempt vagrant.  Why?  Not just because this is the way we look when we come home from long trips traipsing around in the dirt and the rain, but because they just brought us looking like this into a 5-star hotel.  Yes, it is beautiful, it is grand, it is pristine, and there was no warning that this was going to be the kind of place we would be staying!  Well, pictures tomorrow.  We finally arrived at 8 PM, didn’t get to eat till 9 PM because service is slow, even here.  But it is so beautiful that I really felt out of place sitting with the prettily dressed.  Even though the lobby and restaurants and pool are quite grand, our room is not overly fantastic—still, when we leave our room, it sure is beautiful!

We left the Biriwa Beach Hotel about 9 AM with Clarence at the wheel.  It was drizzling.  We drove along the coast so that they could take us to the St. George Castle in Elmina.  It does sound nice, right?   Well, it is a fortress, looking as old as it is, quite ancient, but because of the thick walls it has lasted.  The paint looks typically old, dirty white, as they often do on the coast.  Even dirtier are the secrets that this place holds.  To keep us from all getting depressed, I will simply say that this began as a place of trade in 1471 when the Portuguese arrived, which eventually turned into slave trading.  We all know about these things, but the details shared with us on the tour were very unsettling about the things that went on before they left on slave ships.  The Dutch and the British took their turns here, and not many men did good things, even the Christians that accompanied them who wanted to bring their religion to Africa—but why did so called religious men do nothing about what was happening to the people before they boarded the ships? 

 St. George’s Castle, with ugly peeling paint, and uglier goings on.  
Jim walking across the drawbridge.  It also has a moat—all to keep people from escaping.

We did see some beautiful sites from the upper areas of the fort, checking out the colorful fishing port below, and of course the crashing waves of the sea.

The colorful fishing boats below in the bay as seen from the castle.  I even got a bird doing a fly-by.

Afterwards we stopped by a psychiatric compound where LDS Charities had given some help and they wanted to check on their progress—a back-up water supply, kitchen equipment, repairing and painting buildings, lots of professional laundry equipment, sewing machines, etc.  I couldn't believe how big this area was, with numerous buildings on a very large parcel of land.

We continued on to a reserve so that we could walk on a rope and wood bridge in the tree tops, but decided we only had time to eat there.  It began to rain, very hard, so we couldn’t have done it anyway—another time perhaps.  As we continued on our journey we realized that it was not going to stop raining, and did so almost the entire trip.  We were bumping along on a dirt highway for several hours, encountering some very muddy spots, one requiring 4-wheel drive so as not to slip off the road or run into the lorry that had already had the misfortune to do so.
We were glad to finally be on tarmac for the rest of the trip, but by then it was also completely dark and still raining, slowing our travel.  When we arrived in this very large city with such wonderful infrastructure—Kumasi, we were quite impressed.  And we thought Accra looked good! 

One of the buildings they are refurbishing at the psychiatric compound.  They were painting the interior at the time.  Even with the careful job they were doing, they were trying to paint water base paint over oil base—it never works without priming or sanding it first but it sure looks nice now.

Along the way we did see a few new wells that had just been completed that looked pretty nice.  Tomorrow we are to meet for breakfast at 7:45 AM, and depart with others we are meeting here, at 8:30.

That’s all for today.  It is always late when I am writing and I do not think very well after a very long day!  I have lots more pictures to send when I get a minute.

Love, Mom & Dad, Jim & Karen, Elder & Sister Greding

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