In the colonial days what is now Ghana was called the Gold Coast. So named for the gold and Cocoa that was shipped from here. Today it's also for "black gold" or oil which is been discovered off the coast. Back then it was a different form of "black gold" as it was one of the most important trading capitals for slaves that were shipped off to North and South America and sold for goods that were taken back to Europe in a triangular route.
The country of Ghana is only about the size of Oregon but it's a country with some 67 languages that borders both French and English speaking populations. As a result almost everyone here speaks at least three and usually five or six different languages.
We stopped the Hans Botel which although it provided a decent quick lunch the real attraction was the live crocodiles who would crawl up out of the swamp. That day they were not in a petting mood so we didn't really get too close but it's amazing to see how big those things are.
Then in the 90 degree heat we were off to the Kakum National Park and did what they call the canopy walk. It seems that two Canadians and six Ghanaians had built this rope bridge in the canopy of the rain forest high up in the trees some 60 or 70 feet above the jungle floor. This "walk" is a series of wooden boards about a foot wide with rope sides that wobbles and sways like you can't believe. It actually is quite interesting to see the dense forest from the top instead of the bottom. The only other place in the world I've seen the rain forest like this so far as the Brunei. Hot, sweaty and hard work but well worth the effort.
Then off to visit the reason we came. The Elmina slave castle was one of those things you do because you know it's important even though it is depressing. The castle is where the slaves were kept in dungeons before they were shipped off to the Americas. It also was the center of trade for other commodities, and was the fort where all the defenses were placed and ended up being the home of the church which was the Missionary Center for the region base for spreading of Christianity. The one upside is that it was also the school and where all higher learning took place.
The castle is surprisingly small by today's standards but as they took us through the many chambers where hundreds of slaves were chained up and imprisoned prior to their sale we realized what a pit it must have been. There was a door that opened out into where the ships loaded the slaves that was named the "door of no return".
Elmina is actually means the mine and is about the gold trade.
That night at the local hotel I sat looking at the ocean, Then it dawned on me, although I was looking at the Atlantic Ocean I was not looking east I was looking directly south because we are on the hump of Africa and their long coastline is completely southern facing.
There is no Ebola here. Even with no known cases Westerners don't want to go anywhere in Africa. I was in Malawi and Botswana last year which is about as far from Ebola as New York is from London yet people warned me not to go because of Ebola. Ghana relies on tourism so as a result the economy has suffering badly.
The following day we stopped at the Cape Coast slave castle before we driving back to Accra. It never ceases to amaze me of man's inhumanity to other human beings