We started our weekend as we usually do; at Boondocks with a Star beer in hand. Three hours and more beers than I can count later, our driver showed up around 4 (I tell you, if I get home and I'm not perpetually late it will be a miracle). We ran over and killed two large goats on the way and no one batted an eye. Lori and I cried a quick tear, but at the same time appreciated the sentiment that seems to pop up every day: Only in Africa.
We passed out when we got to Kizzi's, and woke up at 3:30am to make the 3 hour trek to Kakum National Park. Alas, no elephants or monkeys were spotted, but we did enjoy the 'canopy walkway': 7 rope bridges all connected as a path high (so high!) above the rainforest. Not for the faint of heart but absolutely breathtaking. Fred, our guide, was a hoot - he was the black version of Fez from That 70's show, and was adorably disappointed in us when we didn't ask questions on the nature walk (the highlights of which were a large tree and a huge millipede...not much to write home about.) After the rainforest, we drove to the Cape Coast castle. The architecture of the castle is stunning - a large white building with beautiful blue shutters on each window, situated right on the beach overlooking boats and palm trees. It was a little hard to really grasp the horrors that happened there with so many tourists around, but I was able to steal away for a few quiet minutes alone in one of the dungeons. The dungeons are damp and small, completely dark save for a tiny window that allows for one beam of sunlight. Thousands of slaves were held here for days, sometimes weeks, as they awaited shipment through the Middle Passage. It's amazing to think that the slave trade is not only such a huge part of American history, but global history as well, seeing as it was actually the smallest portion of slaves that were sent to the US (most went to the Caribbean). I was amazed when I read the entries in the guestbook, and one African American woman had suggested that they separate white and black people for the tours of the castle. Very powerful stuff.
We stayed at a resort in a town called Elmina Saturday night and I can't tell you how superb it was to take a hot shower. I felt clean for the first time in weeks. After another amazing weekend, I wasn't expecting much at school on Monday morning, but I was pleasantly shocked at how much work they had done for me. The headmaster and secretary provided me with all of the appropriate budgets so I am now one step away from completing my proposals. I appointed a Project Evaluation team (the headmaster, the secretary, the accountant and myself) to assess the progress of the projects should we secure funding, and they are all so excited and, as Jimmy would say, G2G (good to go). And then...very ceremoniously, they walked me over to the new dormitory and pointed to the front door. At the top, written in white, are 8 wonderful letters: "Kim House". They named a dormitory after me!!! Yes, I cried a little and took picture after picture like a Japanese tourist. With only 3 days left here, I'm running around trying to get everything done that I want to, trying not to think about how much I will miss it here. I know though, that this is the first of many trips to Africa for me.