After three surprisingly exhausting days of teaching, everybody was looking forward to a day of relaxing on the beach. In the morning, we piled into our tro-tro and headed back to Cape Coast. Our first stop was Cape Coast castle, which was constructed by Europeans around the same time as Elmina castle for similar purposes. We hit the gift shops, where Sydney and Jake bought drums and many of us purchased various gifts for our friends and family back home (get excited!). Afterwards, we headed to Coconut Grove Beach Resort for our ultimate destination, the beach!
The resort was beautiful, situated just beyond Cape Coast. Complete with an eighteen-hole golf course, ponies, and flushing toilets, we were all struck by its extravagance. We all immediately jumped in the ocean, surprised by how warm the water was, a balmy 80 degrees, about four times warmer than it currently is in the U.S. Northeast.
After enjoying the water, we settled down for lunch under a palapa. Mike put hot sauce on the resort food, which the rest of us found delightful. Greg thought that his pan-seared Sole was so good that he ate his portion…as well as Kate’s. We waited a respectable half hour before joining our resident Yogi, Lilah, on the beach for a quick session of beach yoga. We reapplied our sunscreen (no skin cancer here) and went back in the ocean to frolic in the waves. Jake fulfilled his life-long dream of getting a Ghanaian coconut out of a tree with Sydney’s help.
Elsewhere on the beach, Oduro (Kwesi’s 29 year-old brother), sat and rolled around in the surf like a toddler and enjoyed every minute of it. We watched him run around on the sand playing soccer and giggling in amusement. Everyone then joined in for a game of beach soccer. Shortly afterwards, we got our belongings together and left. Before leaving the grounds of the resort, Oduro had already fallen asleep, exhausted from his long day of play.
On our drive home, we were especially struck by the contrast between the resort and the outskirts of Cape Coast. The differences between the tourist filled resort and the unpaved roads surrounding it, filled with barefoot children, trash, and the smell of fish, was striking. This reminded us of our purpose in Ghana, reinforced by Kate’s enthusiasm to return to the classroom tomorrow, which she mentioned in our nightly reflections.
As we write this, the rest of the group is sorting through piles of donated shoes to give to the kids tomorrow as we take their height, weight, and shoe size as part of our after school project, accompanied by the background noise of Sydney and Jake enjoying their new drums. We’re all excited to return to Heritage tomorrow with renewed energy and excitement.
Love, Greg, Jennie, and Anne