My Stage is the World

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive

On the Road Again

on September 2, 2014

Lazily making my way downstairs about 9.30 (Sunday’s the day of rest right?) all I could think of was a coffee – I was still exhausted! But there was no power! And no water so we couldn’t even use the hob! Grumpy girlie!

After several failed attempts at getting the showers working, it was another day of baby wipes (but no dry shampoo), which made it even luckier that we’d decided not to go to church! We wouldn’t have been welcomed with open arms looking the way we did!

Dressed and stocked up with emergency digestive biscuits I made a peanut butter and banana sandwich to keep me going – best decision ever! After a lot of waiting to decide about our proposed trip to Kumasi the bed day, we headed out to get a taxi / Trotro.

We were heading to the Fort of Good Hope but we weren’t really sure how to get there. We had a rough idea so we set off in the taxi (cosy cosy, especially as the passenger door was held closed with a scarf) to Barrion (10 cedis) and crossed over the road to get the Trotro to Kasswa.

The Trotro was luxurious – new clean seats and the vehicle itself was pretty modern. It was bumpy but less so than the last few we’ve taken! Plus it was only 5 cedis in total! Bargain.

Arriving at Kasswa we found a taxi who would take us to Senya, but it turned out he actually had no idea where it was so dropped us at another junction where we swapped taxis. We paid him 10 cedis and the new driver said he could take us the rest of the way for 40 cedis, “it’s very far”.

He wasn’t wrong and we drove further and further into the middle of nowhere with tiny villages and hundreds of goats. Of course he didn’t actually know where he was going and neither did anyone else! The second time we asked for directions we established that the Fort of Good Hope is known locally as Senya Catle! Of course it is.

The Day of Rest

So we finally arrived and somehow ended up paying him 60 cedis (making the total 85 cedis). Some people are far too nice/British to haggle! Or else I’m just mean! The fort looked a bit rundown but the sea view was lovely. Inside, Sebastien offered to show us around but we decided to get food first as not everyone had had my awesome breakfast idea!

It was miles.

After asking a few locals where we could eat, a lovely young chap offered to take us to a restaurant, because all the chop bars were closed. We walked for a good 20 minutes in the heat (past a Trotro station though – result) only to find that his friend’s restaurant was also closed. As was the second one he took us too!

So we walked back to the castle, women demanding our water and children asking for money every five seconds. Most of the children just wanted to say hello and wave, but some were more ruthless! JK lost his Fanta (not me today) and the rest of us hid our water bottles until we got back to the castle.

The Point of No Return

Sebastien was waiting for us and we began our tour of Senya Castle – long forgotten and avoided by the village people until it was turned into a guesthouse 20 years earlier.

Senya Castle, or the Fort of Good Hope, was built by the Dutch to store the gold they believed was readily available in Ghana. When this proved less lucrative than they were hoping, they turned to the slave trade. Prisoners were held here before they were taken to Elmina Castlefor transportation.
Senya Castle
The cells here were smaller and darker with no ventilation at all until a small hole was knocked through so that food could be stopped through the ceiling. As if to emphasise this fact, Sebastien asked his son to close the door when we were inside. The almost near-darkness, plus the cellar’s current storeroom state gave us a slight hint of how cramped and miserable conditions were, but we could only imagine the true horror of this ordeal.

Once again the Governor had several large airy rooms with a sea view and there was the narrow door from the men’s cells into the holding room, before the dreaded ‘door of no return’ that led prisoners to the ships that would take them to Elmina Castle and beyond.

Food, Glorious Food

The tour finished, perhaps unsympathetically we bought some biscuits and water to keep us going until we got to the supermarket! The Bourbons had a slight banana flavour, but weren’t unpleasant as we stumbled down to the beach for a stroll.

A flurry of activity, fishermen were unpacking their wares an mending nets, young children played football and older boys practised penalty shootouts… They absolutely love football in Ghana!

Two small boys were learning to fish with their older brother, while two young girls danced on the rocks and laughed at us trying to avoid the waves that washed our sandy feet. It was hectic, yet tranquil – a common theme in much of Ghana!
Boy Fishermen
Pausing to buy Bofrot (they’re getting worse) and Polo (small savoury, harder Bofrot – not my thing) from three siblings, we trekked back up to the castle and to the Trotro station for the long – but cheap (8 cedis) – journey back to Kasswa.

This one was beyond ‘vintage’ and each door was threatening to fall off… As was the side nearest me. In fact when I leant on it I honestly thought I’d fall through it! But hey, it wasn’t any bumpier than the previous one… But it did break down in the middle of a traffic jam which wasn’t ideal. Amusing though.
Vintage Trotro
Back at Kasswa eventually, we switched to another Trotro (5cedis) to Barrion via Shoprite where we bought – yes honestly – pasta, tomato sauce and cheese for dinner. Shameless.

Squashing into yet another taxi back to the house we made it home just before it got dark (total cost of journey = 28 cedis) and even managed to cook before the power went out!

Of course we then had to stay up until our bus to Kumasi…

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