The delegation will depart on a morning flight back to Accra and then make our way along the palm-fringed coast of the Gulf of Guinea past small, fishing villages to the town of Elmina and the St. George de la Mina or Elmina Castle. Built first as a refueling base for ships going around Cape Horn, later for trade in Ghana’s natural wealth of gold, and then for the Atlantic slave trade, the Elmina Castle is a dramatic white-washed fortress perched right at the water’s edge and was first building constructed by Europeans in sub-Saharan Africa in the 15th century. On our guided walk through the castle, we enter its evocative slave dungeons, peek through the “Door of No Return” that the captives passed through as they were taken to awaiting ships, and look out over the coast from behind the old cannons on the roof. The castle was built by the Portuguese in the late 15th century, first as a refueling base for ships going around Cape Horn, later for trade in Ghana’s natural wealth of gold, of great interest to Europeans, and then for the Atlantic slave trade.
We’ll explore the colorful and lively fishing village with a harbor full of huge, colorfully painted fishing boats. Walking the back streets and alleys in the old part of town, we’ll look for the curious life-sized sculptures of the Asafo “companies,” or patrilineal clubs, of this region of coastal Ghana. The painted sculptures, each with a company flag, adorn many buildings in town.
The following morning, we depart early for three site visits en-route back to Accra. We stop first to the Cape Coast Metropolitan Health Services hospital. The broad goal of health services in this region is to improve the health of all people living in the municipality regardless of age, ethnicity, religious conviction, political affiliation or socio-economic standing. Some of the specific objectives are an increase in life expectancy, reduction in morbidity and fertility rates, and improvement in quality of life.
From Cape Coast we continue to Ajumako which is 66 kms from Cape Coast to visit the UNFPA-funded Ghana Health Service (GHS). GHS has signed an MOU with private transport unions in the Central Region to transport pregnant women or women in labor to health facilities irrespective of their financial status. The Ghana Private Road strategy was created in order to resolve barriers to access and enhance service for emergency transportation. The delegation will meet with representatives of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union and observe firsthand how important this program has been for raising the profile of maternal mortality and reducing the risk of maternal deaths in the region.
We continue on toward Accra and stop in Agona Abordom at the ―”Time with Grandma” program. Time with Grandma trains elderly female community members (grandmothers) to be mentors and have positive, constructive, and frank conversations with young girls aged 10 – 24 years on matters of reproductive health, the importance of delaying sexual activity until one is ready, and the need to engage less in risky behavior. This mentorship grants young women with the knowledge needed to build self confidence and self-esteem. The program instills positive values, attitudes and behaviors in the youth through enhancing their ability to understand how to relate with boys and girls, future marriage partners and eventually train their own children. Using ―Grandmas in the promotion of positive cultural norms and values for development is part of the Ghanaian tradition. The participation of respected community members such as mothers of leaders (Queen Mothers) and other grandparents adds to the program‘s legitimacy and credibility, thus increasing chances that other community members can get involved and truly allowing for the widespread dissemination of information.
We depart Abordom for Accra, arriving at the hotel late around 8- 8:30pm. Overnights at Coconut Grove Resort and Labadi Beach Resort.