Day 29 – Joanna

It was hard to say goodbye to Sarah and Cori this morning as they ventured off to join the Silver Program just outside of Accra. It was such a pleasure to meet these amazing people and to have the opportunity to go on such memorable adventures together that I know we’ll all be staying in touch.

Once they left and our group was back down to its original six girls, I had a luxurious indoor shower and then we headed for the Central region. The facilitators of our program were very helpful and sent us with our own tour guide to show us around the capital. We visited Independence Square, a historical landmark where many national celebrations are held, and we shopped at the Center for National Culture. The Center is known as the ‘craft market’ and was essentially was a gigantic maze of shops that sold various traditional handmade pieces of art.

When we arrived, we were greeted by a shop owner whose business was making bongo drums. He was a friend of our program coordinator and offered us free drum lessons. The shop owner and his crew lent us each our own large drum and taught us how to play a little pattern. I had no idea how many different sounds one drum could make or how many ways there were to beat it. It was a lot of fun and I have learned to have such a respect for these musicians because it was not easy. We played for about half an hour, thanked the owner for his generosity and time, and began to explore the shops.

Before arriving, we read and heard mixed reviews about the Center. Some tourists have shared their feelings and have reported being uncomfortable and feeling hustled while others enjoyed the atmosphere. In my opinion, it was obvious that the locals wanted your business but for the most part they were respectful when you told them a simple ‘no thank you’. We spent quite a few hours shopping around and buying last minute souvenirs for our families and friends. They had tons of wooden sculptures, paintings, jewelry, fabrics and the list goes on. I bought two wooden masks and some jewelry. I’m really happy that we visited the market because there wasn’t much opportunity to buy souvenirs from Eguafo. I’m glad I was able to purchase local crafts and spend my last few Cedis supporting such talented people before leaving the country.

After shopping around all morning, we were too tired to carry out our initial plan of going to the beach. We decided to go back to the volunteer house, have a late lunch and laid low for the rest of the night. I cannot believe that we leave Ghana tomorrow. It is a very bitter-sweet feeling that I have because I’m going to miss the people and this country so much. I haven’t even left yet and I’m already planning my next year’s trip in my mind.

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