Today marks 55 years since Ghana gained independence from Great Britain on March 6th, 1957.
It astounds me that most African countries did not gain independence until the latter half of the TWENTIETH century.
The national holiday meant no classes pour moi!
With the day to ourselves, Kelly, Katie, and I went with Renee (previous ISEP student, co-founder of Mawuvios) and five of the Mawuvios kids to Aburi.
On the way there, we experienced a very Ghana moment. In Ghana, there are security check points each time you cross into a different region. At these check points, vehicles are stopped "at random" by police officers. If you are white, however, "random" equates to being stopped every time. The police officer who stopped us asked to see Renee's Ghanaian drivers license. Renee does not have a Ghanaian drivers license. Obtaining a Ghanaian drivers license requires a large some of money, but driving school is not compulsory...that makes sense, right? Foreigners can opt to obtain an international drivers license as an alternative, but the application process is slow and chock-full of red tape. Each time she is stopped, Renee explains that she is in the process of getting her international license. This time, the officer accepted this as a suitable answer, and we were allowed to continue on our way. Previously, Renee has had to pay officers to avoid being arrested. TIA (This is Africa).
Aburi, situated on the Akuapem Hills, is about an hour inland of Accra.We spent the majority of the day at the Aburi Botanical Garden. The garden is planted with both indigenous and exotic trees.
Being the chocolate lover that I am, I had to take a picture of a cocoa tree.
When I think of holidays I think food...shocker. Independence day in the U.S. makes me think of bratwursts, watermelon, and some sort of sweet. Ghanaian Independence day wasn't far off. I tried a sausage khebab that was very kielbasa-like.
I also had local Ghanaian ice cream!!! It was more like icey sherbert, but I'm not complaining and I will admit to having two cones today.
The picture isn't even in focus... I was more concerned with consuming it than with the quality of my documentation!
In other news, I heard from the professor who will serve as my adviser for my summer internship! He told me that our research will examine how experiences in close personal relationships may protect (or place soldiers at-risk) for post-traumatic stress disorder following armed conflict. I'm pretty excited about it!