Monday, September 12, 2011

Cape Coast Castle

As a part of our initial YFU orientation, we paid a visit to a fort, in the city of Cape Coast, in which the slaves were bought and stored before the arrival of the ships. Built on the seaside by the British after their victory over the Dutch, Cape Coast Castle has been, over the last 300 years, a silent witness to unimaginable pain and suffering. Now, in 2011, this same fort has become a place of memory. The castle's regal white walls and its cells' moldy and dark ones, have been given a voice: that of our wonderful tour guide Justice.
Through him, the tales of men's cruelty and greed come to life and the rooms are filled with the pain of those who died in this very place and of those who, from here, were forced to abandon their homelands forever.
This fort, visited officially a couple of years ago by President Obama and his wife, now stands as a reminder of what cruelty men have been capable of, and as a memorial to the thousands of men and women who were so brutally treated by people who saw them only as merchandise and not as fellow human beings.
Our visit to Cape Coast Castle was very powerful and moving and I believe that everyone who has the chance, should visit this tragic site.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Week!

I've been in Ghana for a week now. I'm slowly starting to get over the initial culture shock and I'm starting to get used to how everything here works.
My family is fantastic; they welcomed me very warmly and did their best to make me feel at home immediately. My sisters all love movies and tv shows, so we've spent a fair amount of time watching tv in my sisters' room. The movies they show here are in part similar to the ones we're used to at home, but there are also lots of local Ghanaian and Nigerian films, and South American soap operas. The African and South American movies are quite different from European and North American movies: the acting style is MUCH more dramatic, with long long pauses and exciting music that accompanies the most important phrases of the dialogues.
Before I left, the thing I was the most curious about was the food: I had no idea what the food here was going to be like, because I had never even heard of most of the ingredients they use here (Cocoyams, Cassava, etc.) I was happy to discover that I quite like the food here, even though I am still having trouble getting used to the size of the portions! One of the things I have eaten the most since I got here are plantains, which look almost exactly like bananas but taste quite differently and cannot be eaten raw. So far I've had: boiled plantain, fried plantain, roasted plantain and kelewele (plantains flavored with ginger, pepper and onions before being fried).
I have so much more things to talk about and describe concerning my life here in Ghana, but the time on the internet cafe' is running out so I should log off, I'll write again after I have my initial orientation.