Last weekend, while everyone at home was having their Memorial Day BBQs, our program took us to Cape Coast for a festival….so, back on that bus again. I guess it could have been worse, but I  am really hoping I never see that bus again.

When we arrived, we went on a tour of the slave castle that was right on the shore of Ghana. When we walked in, the first place we entered was a cell that the masters left people to die- and that only happened if they tried to escape. It was awful- I was only in there 5 minutes, and already sweating- there was no light, and the people were denied food and water until they died. Then out we walked, and into the male slave dungeons we went. Those were a little bigger, and there was more light- but still absolutely miserable. At the top of the wall, there were spy holes where spies would come in and listen for any plans that the captives had for rebellions or escapes. The floor was covered in feces. After that we were lead to another room where women were kept for punishment. The crime being, they denied their masters sex. The room was half the size of my room here in Ghana, and it held 8 women at a time.

After that, we got lead through the door of no return. Once slaves were taken through the door, they were placed on a boat, and they had to leave everything they knew behind them; their name, their culture, their family, their beliefs everything. Recently, they changed the meaning of the door. They had a big ceremony, and there is now a plaque on the other side of the door that reads “Door of Return” and it symbolizes that Ghana will welcome anyone that has come to rediscover the culture and lives of their ancestors.

After the tour, we had a quick lunch and then joined the festivals. People all around us were dancing, and mostly drunk. There were others banging drums in the street,  people dressed in traditional wear, chiefs sat on their chairs under umbrellas being carried by people. Lots of laughing, and singing, and dancing. It was the biggest most celebrative festival I have ever seen. We ended up joining the parade, and last time I was jostled around that much was in Disneyland at Christmastime. A kind lady showed me how to dance, and I shimmied my way all the way up the street.

Then, even cooler- we saw the president of Ghana drive by.

After we checked in to our hotel- we headed over to a night club. Now, I have been to one nightclub before in Ghana, and it was pretty fun- the people I danced with said I was “pretty good for a white girl”. This night club was a little different. I could not go on the dance floor without someone trying to dance with me. Honestly, I am a little bit of a wimp- and I would prefer to dance by myself…but that was not really an option it seemed. In the middle, a guy pulled me over to a corner, and snapped a quick picture of me- then disappeared. About an hour later, he came and gave a copy of that picture to me. The night was very fun, but by 11 o’clock, I was ready to move on- I had danced my way through the parade, and danced my way around the night club. I was ready to just sit. We went back to our hotel, a lot of people were acting a little funnier than before, and I ended my night with another cold shower.