2 days of Marathon meetings and plenary sessions.. with a Chinese dinner on 13th evening. This was a great experience. As soon as the meeting finished on 14th me and David ran towards the airport as we had to catch a flight at 8:30 and we had to report 3 hours prior. The roads were not empty and also not full as we see in India. We took slightly longer to reach the airport. On the way I purchased few Ghanian chocolates "Golden tree" from a roadside vendor. All the Ghanian Cedi I had were supposed to be exchanged at the airport but I me and David were surprised to know that they had just one private exchange stand that too not in the premises. So i waited with our luggage and David exchanged Cedi for both of us. I was relieved. The Kotoka Airport is a small one with only 4 gates. Our flight was from gate 1. I just bought a water bottle from the airport and went to sit near the gate. Although I was hungry nothing seemed tasty on the counters. The flight was late again. So I started with the book sharing a 'made in India' cake and chocolates with David. I encountered 3 Indians who were booked on the same flight. The lobby near the gate was now full and everyone inquired about the flight time. After 1 hour of wait we could board the flight which came from the Freetown Sierra leone. It was nearly 10 pm Ghana time. As soon as I had meal on the flight I shut my eyes to open them before landing at Nairobi, the other day. I was awaiting this day..
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Centre for National Culture
Housing interesting artifacts and traditional handicrafts from Ghana, the Center for National Culture and Arts in Accra is a great place to pick up some souvenirs. The arts center has many bustling stalls where you can pick up the local handmade crafts to take back home. The center also displays various paintings and artworks by local artists. A great place to experience and even collect some of the local artworks, thus enhancing your cultural experience.
Another lesson in Ghanaian history, the Independence Square also known as the Black Star Square is a public square in Accra built in 1961. It is by far the second largest city square in the world second to the Tian'anmen Square in China. The square has two significant structures, the Independence Arch and the Black Star Monument. As an ode to Ghanaians who lost their lives fighting for the country's independence, there is a statue of a soldier at the Independence Arch. The Black Star Monument has a motif that signifies that Ghana was the "Black Star of Africa" since it encouraged other African countries to fight for their liberation. P.S- Be careful while clicking pictures here, there are certain prohibitions.
Anane International Memorial School
The trip begins on a positive note by meeting the students of the Anane International School in Nima. This school, in the heart of Accra, gives you a rare opportunity of interacting with the locals as well as teaching the poor and orphaned kids of this school. After visiting the school, we take a local tour of Nima. It was a fun day with the kids!
Jamestown is a quiet and picturesque fishing village in old Accra. With clustered houses and dilapidated buildings, this neighborhood in Accra can be easily forgotten if not for the James Fort. Built in 1675 by the British, the fort was used to imprison slaves and has been used as a prison until 2008. Although the place is in a somewhat decay now, it still resonates of the city's past. A walk through the ruins of this old place gives a feel of the past of Accra and the nearby village is as interesting to interact with the locals and watch them go about their daily lives.
The history of Osu Castle reflects the history of Ghana itself. Previously called the Christiansborg Castle, it was built by the Danish in 1659. It has always remained the seat of the official government of Ghana, pre and post independence. The fort fell into the hands of the Danish, Swedish, Portuguese, the British and finally the Independent Ghana government. The castle was rebuilt various times and therefore, due to various extensions is in an unaligned structure today. The castle is huge and houses around 2100 workers. It is a perfect representation of Ghana's past mixed with its present. It is being heard that soon the President will be shifted to the Golden Jubilee house and the castle will be turned into a museum but nothing concrete has been done yet.
Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park
This place is literally where Ghana's history began. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President and one of the founding fathers, declared Ghana's Independence from the British here in 1957. He is often called the African Lenin and is greatly admired and respected by the people. This memorial is a dedication to him. The park stretches across five acres and houses a small museum documenting his life. It also has a small mausoleum, where he and his wife are buried. Independence day celebrations are held here and a tour of this place will give you much information about Ghana's history.