ErinCraig's Travel Journals

ErinCraig

  • 33 years old
  • From Idaho, United States
  • Currently in Idaho, United States

Erin's adventures in Ghana

Many people have asked how they call follow my experience in Ghana. I'm hoping this blog will be a good way for everyone to read about my journey.

We all bleed red!

Ghana Elmina, Ghana  |  Sep 11, 2012
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Last night was an absolute blast :) We went out with all of the other ProWorld volunteers to Oasis. Steph, Nana and Kwame also met up with us. I definitely feel like I'm making some life long friendships here in Ghana and am so thankful for that. Alex and I stayed up WAY too late skyping with friends/family from home. I was pretty excited I was able to skype with my cousin Kay and my best friend, Ryan. Made me miss home a bit but it was definitely fun to tell them a little about my experience. We had an early morning today. We met at the ProWorld house to leave on our excursion. We went to Assin Manso. It was so cool. Our tour guide was not there when we arrived so one of the ProWorld staff members, Kofi lead us on the tour. I hate to admit it, but I had a difficult time understanding some of what he was saying so I'm not quite sure I got all of the details. Basically, what I understood from our tour was that was were at the site where the slaves began their journey to Cape Coast Castle. It took them one week to walk to the castle. We took off our shoes and walked the path barefoot to pay our respect to them. It was a very sad feeling, definitely extremely emotional. I'm planning to look up more information so I can better understand it. I talked with Nana about it a bit tonight and I think I'm going to go back out there and he is going to help me understand it a little better. From there we headed back to Cape Coast to have lunch at the Castle. Lunch was so good. I had coconut curry with chicken and rice. We then started our tour. Again, it was very difficult to understand what they were saying. We were part of a very large group so it made it even more difficult. We saw the male and female holding spaces. We also saw the cell. That was the place that really hit me hard. They turned off the lights and it was pitch black while we were in there. They told us that there would be 60 slaves in that small room. They would be held in there until the very last one died. Can you imagine what the last slave was thinking while being surrounded with 59 dead bodies? It definitely made me extremely emotional. I learned about the slave trade and all of that in school but being at the actual site where it happened was a feeling I can't even begin to explain. They talked a lot about where we are today and how far we have come since those days. They talked a lot about loving each other as a person, not because of the race. A friend that I met my first night here, Sunshine, told me that "we all bleed red". It's so true and being in this country has reminded me of that. Again, being the minority is difficult but it has made me embrace differences that I never have before. It is definitely helping me empathize with the refugees that I work with back home. We are all different, but at the end of the day, we are all the same. We all make mistakes, we all struggle, we all overcome obstacles and we all bleed red :) Being a different "color" has definitely brought out many emotions for me. Its hard to put into words how it makes me feel, but I think it's going to be very good for me in the future. After our tour, we headed back to ProWorld and hung out for a bit. We all decided to head back to our homestays. I sat in a shared car for about 45 minutes, waiting for others that were going to Elmina. I finally made it home and took a much needed shower. I'm feeling so exhausted tonight. Being emotional the majority of the day probably didn't help. Nana and Kwame stopped by the house tonight to say hi. I have been having a few issues with my homestay and them not wanting me to be out at night. I'm trying to be as respectful as I possibly can, but I am an adult and can make my own decisions. I want to make the best out of this experience and meeting new people is a huge part of that. Steph went out with the guys to hang out for a bit but I wasn't allowed to. Kinda bummed but I will survive :) I get to blog and get some much needed sleep. Not sure what I will be doing tomorrow. Steph and I are going to go find some clothes in Cape Coast. I want to get some fabric. I might go to to beach with Nana and Kwame in the afternoon. It was absolutely gorgeous today and I really wish I would've been able to spend some time on the beach but hopefully tomorrow.It's crazy how gorgeous the beaches are here. Tomorrow is also day 3 of a funeral celebration that they are having right outside my house at chapel square. I really want to see what they do. There are 3 days of celebrations/mourning. The first day everyone wears black and red, the second day they wear all black and the third day they wear white. There are big tents set up outside so I'm assuming it's a pretty big ordeal. I will try to take a few pictures. I had kind of a weird realization earlier tonight. I was reading an US Weekly that I bought at the airport. I usually love reading about all the crazy gossip. I'm definitely a sucker for pointless reality tv shows and all of that silly entertainment. As I was reading the articles, I realized how absolutely wonderful it has been to be disconnected from all of that this past week. I don't have a tv, I rarely have internet and I have a cell phone that I use to communicate with my family, a few friends and my ProWorld family. It is a simple Nokia phone that calls and texts (and it has an awesome flashlight on it and snake :) )There is no facebook or any internet access on my phone.  I knew that coming into this experience I might have a hard time disconnecting from it all, but I really don't miss it. It might sound bad, but I don't miss the negativity that so much of that brings. I'm not saying that I will never watch tv again or anything like that, but I am saying that I don't need it in my life and not having it has made me feel a lot more positive. I am able to focus on ME, focus on the tasks that I have in front of me, and to focus on building the relationships around me. I feel happy, I feel positive and I'm learning to love me. That has always been a constant struggle but I am truly embracing this ME time. I really don't know how this experience will change my every day life at home, but I do know that I'm loving everything about this experience. I'm doing so many cool things, meeting so many cool people and learning so much about myself. I am in a developing country and I couldn't be more appreciative for all that I have today. So thankful that I was able to take my bucket bath, so thankful that I had enough change to share a taxi with 5 other people, so thankful that I have a bed in my room and so thankful that I get to wake up tomorrow and continue this amazing adventure. Feeling so full of love. It's pretty dang awesome!! XOXO

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