Monday, August 29, 2005

Beverly Bond reports on trip to Ghana

From 11 July through 3 August, Dr Beverly Bond and Dr Dennis Laumann and nine students were in Ghana. Here is Dr Bond's report on the trip:

This summer I visited the West African nation of Ghana with our colleague, Dr. Dennis Laumann, and nine students in the African and African American Studies course "Ghanaian History and Cultures."

Dinner at the Institute of African Studies Chalets

Laura and Kristin with a group of Ghanaian students

Our first two weeks were spent in Accra based at the University of Ghana Legon.

Balme Library at the University of Ghana Legon

The students were housed in the Institute of African Studies Chalets (where they experienced a few little problems with hot water, lights and air conditioning), but Dennis and I stayed at a guest house on the campus. Our group listened to lectures by University of Ghana faculty members on culture, family and social structure, slavery and the slave trade, colonialism and the independence struggle, religion, funerals and festivals, music, and gender. Our local tours of Accra included the central market (and several smaller neighborhood marketplaces), a newly-constructed shopping mall in the East Legon neighborhood, the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial and Museum, the W.E.B. DuBois House and Mauseleum, and the beautiful Aburi Botanical Gardens.

Kwame Nkrumah statue and memorial

W.E.B. DuBois house and mausoleum

DuBois' crypt (Shirley Graham DuBois' ashes in container on pedestal)

We also visited the homes and shops of local artisans, seamstresses, hair braiders, and a cloth weavers.

Goldsmiths at work

Seamstress shop in Accra

Weaving Kente cloth

Our final week was spent traveling north to the Volta region (first on a Sunday cruise, then by van to Ho and Hohoe), then west and south to the coastal cities of Kumasi, Biriwa, Elmina, and Cape Coast.

Along the Volta River

Top of Wli Falls


Fishing boat in Biriwa

The most moving part of the trip was our tour of the slave castles of Elmina and Cape Coast.


Inside Elmina

Display of shackles inside Elmina

Inside Elmina: The Door of No Return

Our final "challenge" was the "canopy" walk - crossing seven narrow suspension bridges high above the rainforest. We could look down and see the monkeys swinging in the trees. I purchased and can proudly wear my "I survived the Canopy Walk" tee shirt.

Canopy walk

I spent a week in Memphis after I returned from Ghana, then went to Massachusetts for a short visit. I'll send more pictures of that trip later.

Beverly Bond


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