Article #3 in the YCC Kids Club Ghana Student Life Stories Project
The YCC and BSV Educational Tour to Cape Coast!
By Patience Amekudzi, Age 13
“Only students with perfect attendance can compete for a spot in the YCC trip to Cape Coast,” the Director told us.
I was thankful that I had attended school each day, so I was able to advance to the next round in the Cape Coast trip competition: writing an exam that covered both English and Mathematics.
We waited anxiously for the results, and at last they came. I had passed! I had earned a spot in the Cape Coast educational tour!
I ran home to tell my mother, who was stirring the banku for dinner. “Eja gba gba!” my mother cried out in Ewe, which means, “I am very proud of you!” It would be the first opportunity for any member of our family to visit the most famous tourist attractions in our country.
It was April, 2009 that we set off on the long bus journey West. Our group consisted of: five YCC students who, like me, had perfect attendance and had passed the test, three students from the community of Adrakpo and three from the small village of Dalive who had all also shown academic excellence, four American volunteers from Bright Star Vision USA, six YCC staff members, and two Adrakpo teachers. Though we came from many different worlds, everyone got along like friends.
We all wore nice white T-Shirts which Bright Star Vision’s founder, Marla, had brought all the way from Connecticut. The journey started at eight in the morning, and by twelve noon, after a short stop in Accra, we arrived in Cape Coast.
For many students, that day was our first time ever on a bus. Usually we use a tro tro or stay in our villages, so everyone was staring at the scenes out the windows while the vehicle was moving. We were so excited!
Our first visit was to Kakum National Park. There, we walked on a path hanging high above the jungle canopy. I peered down through the leaves as our guide revealed to us, “The ground is two hundred and fifty metres below!”
The canopy walk swings back and forth as you walk along it, and we were afraid… but so amazed! We learned that as it grew dark, wild and terrifying animals would begin to emerge: lions, tigers, monkeys, and more. Our guide informed us that the Kakum National Park was built by Ghanaians as well as Canadians.
We then had our lunch, which was an American food called peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. “Oh– this is not sweet,” said Precious as the sticky peanut butter filled her mouth. We did not enjoy the food very much, because the food was not African food we are used to!
We then went to our second destination, which was Hans Botel, a crocodile pond. We saw more than forty crocodiles lurking in the water and we took many pictures with the dangerous animals.
“You can sit on the crocodile,” said the guide. We refused to do that foolish thing, but Sir Godfred actually agreed to hold the rough and heavy crocodile tail! “It was a lifetime experience,” chuckled Sir Godfred as he put the tail down and ran away. Everyone was laughing and screaming.
In the evening we slept in a beautiful hotel called The Prospect Lodge which was three stories high. From it, you could look out over all of Cape Coast, with its white buildings, hills, and ocean. We had our supper of banku in the hotel restaurant and then we took our baths.
To wash, there was a shower on the wall, instead of the buckets of water we usually use to wash ourselves. We spent many hours in the bathrooms because we had never experienced that before. We each shared a hotel room with our friends and teachers, and I slept extremely well because the bed was soft, and nobody disturbed me like they do at home.
The next morning we took our bath again (it was so nice!) and had our breakfast of tea and bread. Then we took off by bus. Our next two trips were to the two most famous castles in Ghana, namely Cape Coast Castle and Elmina Castle.
We went to Cape Coast Castle first (pictured). There we saw the high white walls, with the waves of the sea beyond, and we inhaled a smell of rotten fish.
At the castle, we learnt that all the countries in Africa had been colonized except for Liberia and Ethiopia. The reasons why the Europeans colonized Africa were to exploit the African resources and to preach the gospel. The colonial masters of Ghana were the British, but before this, other Europeans came.
In the late fifteenth century, the first Europeans, the Portuguese, arrived in Ghana, which was then called The Gold Coast. Their main reasons for coming were to discover the sea route to India and the Far East and to trade with the people of Africa. However, soon they became involved in the horrible slave trade. Cape Coast Castle was used to hold our captured forefathers in bondage before they were sent across the ocean to a lifetime of slavery.
Our group was taken into the deep, dark dungeons of Cape Coast and Elmina Castle by the guide, and I realized: “Our forefathers truly did suffer.”
Before heading back to Accra and Sogakope from the castles, we stopped at Cape Coast University to have lunch. The university was a very large story building, and it was beautiful. Marla explained to us, “This is one of the great institutions of learning that you may attend if you work hard in school.”
At mid-afternoon, we left Cape Coast and boarded the bus to go back home. Over the two day trip, we had experienced and learned so much that we had never even imagined before. As the bus bumped down the road, everyone began singing with joy. When the sun set and the land outside the bus windows became dark, one by one we each fell asleep, satisfied.
I am very thankful to YCC and Bright Star Vision USA for arranging this educational tour. I had a wonderful time, and the trip proved that hard work in school brings great opportunities.
Lillie’s Note: Did you like Patience’s article? Please leave her an encouraging comment, question, constructive critique, or compliment! Don’t forget to specify your country of origin and current location. Many thanks!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is a 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!