A small disclaimer before the actual post. It still feels like I visited Ghana yesterday. My memories of this journey are just still outstandingly present. But it is not like I remember it from start to finish, more like I remember a lot of certain moments. Especially two moments e.g. memories were special, almost magical, to me and I therefore decided to put the focus on those. I also will write a few sentences about the remarkable culture. At the end I enclosed some pictures of Ghana to put my experiences into a visible form.
My travel to Ghana is now over a year ago, but I remember this trip still very vividly. I had the pleasure to visit this country in summer 2014 for two weeks as a volunteer building an orphans house. I flew to Ghana with very mixed feelings. I wasn’t sure what the accommodation would look like exactly nor how my guest family would be. Furthermore, I had some considerations in regards to infrastructure, safety, hygiene etc. But I was also looking forward to visit Ghana. It’s rich, but also tragic, history and the countryside looked amazing just from pictures seen and documentations watched. In addition, I was excited about the people as they were described as very heart-warming and welcoming by my travel guide book.
First thing coming to my mind was my arrival. I got picked up at the airport by a beautiful young lady and another volunteer who, surprisingly enough, was also Swiss. We got into the car and our driver navigated us along the way. The scenery I saw was like nothing else I have ever seen before. In Switzerland, and also most places I’ve visited, you have a certain order. But not in Ghana. Unfinished Buildings, litter everywhere and a driving system without any logic. I remember clearest when we left the road and took a left to something you wouldn’t even consider “a street” in Switzerland. I can describe it best as a very very sleazy dirt road with potholes everywhere. I was fascinated as well as surprised that this can work. After another good half an hour drive I was left in front of my accommodation. And I was shocked and frustrated – it wasn’t what I expected. No running water or shower, an outside toilet, no TV or WLAN and not even a proper bed. But my bad feelings should not last long. The vibe I experienced in this concrete building block was like nothing else I have ever felt before. If I reflect it today though, I just feel like I adopted very fast to the culture of Ghana. The key difference between the cultures is that Ghanaians live in the moment and don’t worry about yesterday and tomorrow or even the next moment. This is not the case in Switzerland – it is the opposite. Therefore, happiness is much more present and very infectious as it is all around you. Despite the fact Ghana being a poor country.
The next moment I remember vividly was the visit to the Cape Coast Castle. To give you an idea; this building was used to ship slaves from Africa. I find that every form of inhumanness is a great loss of the human mind. It therefore was an extreme top-heavy experience as a flood of thoughts was inevitable. The moment I entered the gate is still perfectly present. It was like you could still feel the pain, sadness and fear. Especially harsh was a room underground in which they “stored” the slaves before they were shipped. The room was conducted out of four plain rock walls, a sandy floor and a tiny window. Imagine being caged in such a room for weeks or even months. But as brutal as those minutes were to me, I was key to learn an important lesson in life. The feel I described when entering the castle is basically a total lost of your identity and freedom – at least in my opinion. You get restricted to being a product. So from that moment on I knew the importance of not only finding your own identity, but also finding freedom and furthermore, not supporting people who oppress and cage others.
Hopefully I gave you a little bit of an idea into this remarkable country. I truly hope that I someday will be back there one day! At the end find enclosed some photographs taken in Ghana. I hope those will give you a good idea of the country.