Friday, September 25, 2009

"Oh Ghana!"

Today started as every other morning when our ship is to pull into port. Myself and a couple of my colleagues (that I affectionately refer to as my shipboard brothers, a blog for another day) woke up at 530am to see the sun rise and pull into a new port. As usual I woke up and called up ED and PL and told them we would meet up in the faculty staff lounge, since PL and I live across the hall from each other we actually met up on the stairwell leading to the upper decks. When we arrived to the faculty lounge it was evident that the sunrise would elude us, as we were faced with the thickest fog I had seen all voyage, you could barely see the front of the ship, none the less we sat in the lounge chatting with anticipation of what Ghana had in store for us.

As 6am rolled around the sun started to burn off the fog and I was able to get a couple of pictures of the sun’s appearance we also started to see something we had not seen. Ahead of us in the distance container ships lay in wait, almost directly in our path. Within a half hour we were right upon them and passing them as we continued on into the port of Tema. The excitement was mounting. At this point other ship board community members had awakened and joined us. Including our inter port student (a student that joins us at the previous port and sails with the community to the next port providing insight to the ship board community about their native homeland) Nii, had joined us on the outer deck.

Nii and the rest of us would have to wait, there was another ship in our parking space, the captain had to circle around several times which made for an interesting morning (PL referred to it as “the captain was doing doughnuts in the parking lot”, which is a pretty good description of exactly what we were doing). While we waited to actually arrive in Tema, we went below to enjoy breakfast. Our meal was disrupted by a momma and baby whale playing about 200 yards away from our ship. Yes, I saw a whale, though I have no picture proof, this sighting excited me and let me know that Ghana was going to be an enjoyable adventure.

As we came back above we finally were in port in Tema, Ghana. After Immigration and Customs cleared the ship (i.e. went through everyone’s passport and made sure everything was on the up and up) PL and I boarded a bus to go on a city tour which would take us through Tema into Accra. It would be an all day adventure. We were whisked away in the busy streets of Tema where everyone was buzzing; it’s a very active and industrious port town. One of the interesting sites we passed was a shell of a building which was the Meridian Hotel which actually sits on 0 degrees on the meridian (the longitude line), guests can vie to stay in the actual room which sits on the meridian, and in room 0 those guests are treated extra special. It actually took us a while to get through Tema passing Labadi beach we were arriving in Accra, we were taken to see several sights, like the Ohene Djan Stadium, where futbol (Soccer) is played. This stadium rivals the major American Football or Baseball stadiums in size. We also drove past the Independence Square: which commemorates the independence of Ghana, a first for Sub Saharan Africa. (Wikipedia, 2009) and then on to the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park; Kwame Nkrumah was Ghana’s first president, a graduate of Lincoln University and a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.

The memorial park is a beautiful and fitting tribute to him. While there we were visited by some peacocks that did not show us their beautiful feathers but ducked under palms instead. After that we continued on to lunch and had the first of many wonderful Ghanaian meals. After lunch we continued on our tour and visited the WEB Dubois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture. Another great tribute to a great legend in Pan African history; DuBois was invited to Ghana by president Nkrumah in 1961 and eventually died there at the age of 95 one day before fellow Alpha man, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the “I Have a Dream” Speech in Washington DC (where a moment of silence was observed for DuBois), I saw a plaque presented by Alpha Phi Alpha, of which DuBois was a member, commemorated on January 15, 2007. Having had my fill of Black Greek history, we moved on to travel once again through the streets of Accra back to Tema and our ship. My first day in Ghana had been filled with great information both old and new. I was looking forward to what tomorrow would bring.


  1. Ladebelle retweeted this post. Glad I stopped by. I have ALWAYS wanted to visit Ghana...and Kenya. I am so excited for you.