Thursday, May 9, 2013

last leg of the journey

This is likely my last post about the trip. On Tues morn, I left the hotel around 5:30am to catch a Tro to Cape Coast (via Accra, the capital). Before I explain what a tro is, I have to digress back to when I was checking out of the hotel . The front desk manager couldn not figure out how to print my bill. He tried several differecnt computers, and even showed me the total amount on the screen. So I said no problem, they can just give the bill to Jim to bring back for me (they had my credit card from when we checked in). So off I went. However, there was a "misundertanding" as the hotel thought I left with out paying my bill so they put the hard court press on Jim to come up with the finds for my bill and his. YIKES! Like I said, the front desk had my credit card but apparently that wasnt enough. Thanks Jim and sorry jenny for the middle of the night phone call!

 So a tro is basically like supershuttle but it is used city to city and basically there is no schedule. The tro leaves the station when it fills up. So when I got to Accra and found the tro going to Cape Coast, there were 3 other people in it. It took us 90 minutes to fill it up, 90 minutes of just standing around being hot and sweaty with food vendors asking you every 20 seconds if you want bo buy: water, mementos, cookies, empanadas, chicken & rice (yes please), shoes, shirts, razor blades, toothbrushes, etc etc.

 We finaly got the tro full and drove about 3 hrs to Cape Coast/Elmina. These are coastal towns, fishing villages, that are well known for the slave castles that still stand today. temporarly prisons for slaves before they were put on the ships that brought them to America. If you've ever seen the movie Roots, and the conditions the slaves were put in on the boats, you have a good sense of what the prisons in Elmina & Cape Coast are like.

I stayed at the Elmina Beach Resort, $130/night. on the beach, albeit a rocky beach. rooms were fine, wifi was pretty good. I was sitting across from this white gal, both of us working on our computers and we got to talking. She started an organization in Elmina called "Global Mama's" and what they do is they train women in a trade so that they can earn a living...dont just train but help with working capital so they are able to generate income right away. And they do this with hundreds of women in Ghana (my facts might be off a bit), creating a sustainable business for them. Anyway, she has a boyfriend named Miles who works with an organiztion called Sabre Charitable Trust, and they build schools for Kindergarners. So on Wed, Miles drove me to the school that was just recently completed and it was AWESOME (See pics on next post). Environmentally built with bamboo, coconut husks for insulation from weather and noise, soil bricks (sourced locally).  These types of buildings/classrooms would be perfect for Crossover, and I think we can get them done for cheaper than that second contractor we met with. Additionally, they use as many local worlkers as possible and train them on how to build what they are building, so it improves the economy of the village and the skill sets of the villagers.

 After visiting the school, Miles invited me to join him and his boss velmina for lunch at Ellie's place, a local Elmina woman who serves up awesome food. We had rice, avocado, tomatoes, cucumber and some curry sauce. Also over lunch Velmina offered me a ride to the airport, which saved me $100. 

That was basically the trip. It was one I will never forget and I am charged up to help those kids so that they are not sleeping on mats on the earth anymore. If you read this blog, and got inspired like I did, we are going to need all the help we can get. We do not yet have our 501c created (we decided to call it Wings for Crossover), but once we do, its going to take a community to get this thing off the ground. Assuming we do raise enough money and get the school built, maybe there will be a handful of people that will want to go to Ghana to visit Crossover for the open ceremonies. That would be really cool and Jim & I can help with planning & logistics. It's a fairly expensive flight ($1500'ish I think) but a good opportunity to use miles. Thank you for reading this blog and sharing it out there in social media circles. as of the time of this writing, I think I've had over 1700 page views. I think thats pretty good! If you can forward it to people who might be interested, or share it on Facebook, etc, tha would be awesome. It's a numbers game and the more people that read it, the better our chances to help these kids!

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