Date: Early 2007
Context: Thekenyanexplorer went to Ghana with a team from uni on a 3 week trip to Ghana. Her team was focusing on some development work in energy and water. This is an email that was sent to her friends and family after the trip. The full story will be in a few separate consecutive blog entries.
To our joy the Kwame Nkrumah memorial park was open. It was a really beautiful place with seven statues of horn blowers blowing water into the fountain. The memorial park is a bit controversial since Nkrumah is likened to God in many ways that some find sacreligious. The seven horn blowers representing the fact that God created for six days then rested on the seventh....just like Nkrumah. Kwame Nkrumah's mausoleum viewed from a distance looks like a tree. He is merely resting under a tree. Not dead. Many think of Nkrumah as immortal. Nkrumah's body is finally laying where it should be. He died in a hospital in Romania from prostate cancer. He was buried first in exile in Guinea where he was co-president after having been overthrown in Ghana, and could not be returned home. He was buried in a metal coffin for many years and this is taboo. According to custom he had to be buried in a wooden case so that his soul would eventually be able to escape after the coffin decomposes. Later on his body was allowed to be brought back into Ghana and be buried in his home town. It was finally dug up for the last time and buried in the now Kwame Nkrumah memorial park in Accra.
The museum was quite interesting and the guide was very informative. On the exterior of the museum there was Egyptian drawings, a tribute to Nkrumah's wife who was Egyptian. There are many pictures of Nkrumah with Fidel Castro, the very handsome Patrice Lumumba (Congo's first president- who was killed by the Belgians and supposedly by the CIA for his friendship with communist leaders and his great work in opposing colonialism. He was only seeking help from stronger nations after the US refused to support him. It makes one wonder how much of a threat the CIA and Belgium thought Lumumba was for them not only to have killed and buried him under a tree, but then dug him up again to dissolve his body in sulphuric acid. The good are killed off young.
The symbols on Nkrumah's monument are interesting. There is the lady with an egg showing that power is fleeting. There is the upward pointing sword depicting political power. The place left me pretty sad, but also hopeful in a strange way. Great people die or are killed, but great ideas can never be erased. Forwards ever, Backwards never.
I had told all my group mates about blood diamond, and we decided to go watch it. We saw a place called the "movie theater." Turned out to be a bar that has a big screen and some benches. I found it so amusing, that there are really no movie theaters in Accra. This is a plus for Nairobi.
I am smitten by a certain Ghanaian man. That is all I will say for now. I think I was given some juju. He is the sweetest human being I have met. For more details ask me.
DEPARTURE AND AMSTERDAM
Leaving Ghana was pretty sad. We had lunch at a vegan restaurant "Asasse Pa" then spent the rest of the afternoon shopping. I have grown so attached to the place and my new peaceful way of life. I love the people. People are really unbelievably nice, and I feel like I found a warm part of myself that I had sort of forgotten for a while. A part of me that makes me human. I feel like I have found a second home after Kenya. There were two blackouts at the airport. Was a bit amusing. We spent yesterday touring Amsterdam in the morning. It was fun. Amsterdam was really beautiful but cold. We arrived at 6am and tried finding a coffee shop to warm up with coffee before touring. Funny.....none were opened at 6am. At 8am we finally found one. I ordered an Irish coffee thinking this would be coffee with baileys. Turned out to be coffee with whisky (not the best morning drink if I may say so myself.) It warmed me up though