09 May 2006

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes!

Trip to Ghana was quite interesting. Ghana was a British colony and gained independence in 1957- the first country in Africa to do so. Since then, like most other countries on the continent, there were coups and rebel wars, with peace and stability returning just recently. The capital city, Accra, is over populated but with the economy picking up, the future looks bright. The people are peaceful and friendly but generally poor, the main exports are cocoa but the gold reserves are now fairly low.

The Gold Coast, as Ghana was once called, was the major port during the days of slavery. Taking time off from work, we visited Cape Coast on the western end of the country. Coconut Grove is the vibrant and only tourist spot in the country! If you ever go to Ghana, stay there and try the superb fresh fish, prawns and lobster!

Cape Coast has a few of the 14th century slave castles- visited the British and Portuguese castles. The ‘Point of no return’ is where the slaves were loaded onto ships bound for faraway lands. The Elmina Castle had this tribute to the slaves: (see blog pic)

‘In everlasting memory,
Of the anguish of our ancestors
May those who died rest in peace
May those who return find their roots
May humanity never again perpetrate
Such injustice against humanity
We the living vow to uphold this’

The guide at the castle asked why we thought that people could do such a terrible thing to fellow human beings- that got me thinking. Has slavery really ended? Or has it just been replaced by economic and social slavery? Are the poor of today not in the same, or sometimes worse, situation than their slave ancestors? Looking back into history and questioning how people could treat fellow human beings like animals, load them into ships and export them to foreign markets- is economic slavery not the same thing? How can we, the civilised of this century, not recognise slavery, if and where it exists…

Business class flights, 5 star hotels- while it’s really fun and enjoyable, probably all contribute to the economic imbalances that exist all around. I guess the problem with the bourgeoisie, is that the ‘good life’ is so comfortable and enjoyable, that one could easily get sucked up into it;-p

I doubt Ghana is on anybodies list of places to visit, but take the opportunity to go if it comes up. A lovely African county with tropical weather and warm beaches, friendly people and just enough to see and do. A canopy walk in the forest, from treetop to treetop, over 60 meters above the ground is also one of the popular attractions. Not many forests left in the world today…

Well, on a more fun note, got to enjoy, for the first time really enjoy, a game of rugby with my witty, Brit companions! Rounded off with a farewell tribute to a soon-to-be fallen warrior: a fitting exit of painful, albeit equally enjoyable, paintball and ice skating!

Hmm, V was once again entertaining and inspirational- ‘Stealing implies ownership. I was merely reclaiming!’ Justification enough for bringing back Robin Hood?!


zee said...

hey there Bilal!!!!!!!!!!!

It seems u had a fab time in Ghana!

Where are u gonna jet off to next????????

Bilal said...

Good to see that you're back!
Ghana was HUGE:)
Not sure- any ideas?!