Ghana in June, Day One

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The Wi-fi and I are having it out tonight. But, more importantly, we are here in Ghana and the luggage and our team made it fine with no excess baggage fees or delays. We’re calling it a miracle. It’s so good to be back and although I can’t say that I have missed the slow Wi-fi,  it is another familiar part of my time in Ghana. So is visiting the slave castles that dot the coastline of what was once known as the Gold Coast. After over 26 hours of flying, we stumbled into our hotel rooms in Accra last night and woke up this morning to drive to Elmira Castle. Last spring, Erin and I visited Cape Coast, so it was good to see a different castle, but the story is the same. We walked through the dungeons where male and female slaves were kept. There were hundreds of captured West Africans who were huddled in these rooms with little ventilation or sanitation. Diseases like typhoid, malaria, and yellow fever were rampant. We saw the dungeon, complete with skull and crossbones, where the slaves who tried to escape were kept without food and water until they died there. And we saw the Door of No Return, the last walkway before the slaves were boarded onto ships bound for Europe or the United States. But in this castle, we were also able to stand in the large room where church services were held each Sunday, above the dungeons and the Door of No Return. And we asked the question that we will never answer: “How?”

Despite a morose beginning to our trip (and to my blog posting about it), it seemed like the right place to be today to put things in perspective. There are so many “why?” and “how?” questions that we can’t answer. I’m a person who likes to know these answers, but sometimes all we can do is look ahead and say, “We’ll do things different and better.” Maybe we can never make up for the wrongs of those who came before us, but we can be people who don’t repeat injustice, causing generations that come after us to ask these same questions.

Tomorrow morning we leave Accra for our destination, Ankaase. I’m so privileged to be traveling with Peter and Anna, ACEF founder and his wife; Colin, my son; Shannon, my best childhood friend; and Melissa, a dear friend I’ve known for over 20 years.

Tomorrow, we will board a plane for Kumasi and hit the ground sprinting as soon as we make the drive to Ankaase. It is midnight here and this is my third lost and recovered draft of this post, so I’m hitting publish, saying a prayer of thanks, and then falling into bed. Once again, you’ll have to forgive the typos. If I fix them, I’m afraid this night will never end.

So, finally, goodnight from Accra, Ghana.

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