Letters From Ghana (#5)


August 6, 2013

Greetings from Cape Coast, Ghana!

This will be our final letter from Ghana. SOLES Professor Joi Spencer and I are scheduled to visit a school today and then return to the US.

Our Teams visited what is called a “Slave Castle.” They dot the coastline of West African nations with the majority located in Ghana. The “Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade” started out in the 1440s and lasted until the mid-19th century. The Danes and then the British were the first to abolish slavery in 1792 and 1807 respectively. It’s estimated that 200,000 million people were forcibly removed from their homelands and transported in inhumane conditions across the Atlantic to the Americas. The “Cape Coast Castle” is a World Heritage Site and was visited by President and Mrs. Obama in 2009. It is an incredibly moving experience to tour this ‘castle’ built in stages by the British over a sixty-year period and completed in 1665. There is a door with the words- Door of No Return, which these West African people who were enslaved walked through in order to reach the ships that would transport them to the Caribbean, Brazil or the US. It’s so hard to fathom all of this, but our guide was excellent and he ended the tour with a plea. He told us that although this type of slavery has been abolished, there are thousands of people around the world today who are still enslaved. He asked us to help change this so no person on earth will ever be enslaved again. I saw lots of wet eyes in our group.

This evening Dr. Spencer and our Edify/SAT colleagues had a meeting with two professors from one of the finest universities on the African continent--Cape Coast University (CCU). They assisted our project by arranging for four observers to attend our two different trainings. The observers provided feedback on the training so that our content was context appropriate. Their feedback will help us revise the ‘beta’ modules that our team created last spring in the SOLES Global Center. We are hoping that some of these observers, as well as others recommended by CCU, will deliver the training since we plan to follow a ‘trainer of trainers’ model. This will help ensure the training’s sustainability. It looks like Edify will send Dr. Spencer and some SOLES students back to Ghana in January 2014 to collect follow up data from some of the schools in our study and they’ll offer another Leadership Training Workshop.

It has been such a pleasure for the SOLES Teams to work with the proprietors and our Cape Coast University colleagues. Edify is doing amazing work with their Ghanaian microfinance partner Sinapi Aba Trust. Edify is playing a major role in helping to fulfill the second of UNESCO’s eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): Achieve universal primary education.

We are so very grateful to Chris Crane, Vanessa Folsom, and Godwin Fiagbor of Edify and Joshua Opoku-Mainoo at Sinapi Aba Trust. The USD/SOLES Team is so fortunate to be a part of this work.

I leave you with: plantains, swaying coconut palms, keleweli, fresh fish, women balancing pots on their heads, plantains, smiling children, Akan symbols (the one in photo—peace, unity and togetherness), miles of sandy beaches…

Dean Cordeiro

P.S. Ah yes, grasscutters…bush meat…a rodent considered a delicacy in Ghana! Well, we all have different tastes.

Previous Letters from Ghana:


Devon Foster
(619) 260-4283