Day 45… Tuesday 16th May
Breakfast with a seaview. Omelettes are a west African staple – delicious. Spent the morning touring Fort San Sebastian built in 1520 – 1526, then owned by the Dutch and then the British. Now owned and managed by the Ghanaian Government. Built as a fort and used as an exchange post for gold, honey, alcohol, ammunition and slave trading. Fascinating place. Spent the early evening watching around 30 fishing boats with flags leave the village port to the sound of drums and a village send off. They went out for the night and came back around 5am to a village carnival atmosphere. It must have been a successful night of fishing.
The tour of the fort was superb which was led by the caretaker and guide, Alex. We managed to nudge in just before a large group of young primary aged kids, but it wasn’t a problem as it’s a small fort so the tour didn’t take long and the kids looked happy amongst themselves.
The tour was excellent, and Alex is well read on the forts history. From our discussions it was reassuring to have a frank and informed conversation about the history of slavery in this region, free from the distorted history put out at present in Europe and America. I must remember to get to him a link to download ‘Travels into the Interior of Africa’ by Mungo Park, I think he’ll find it fascinating.
In the afternoon I strolled down to the harbour where the hotel owner (Samuel) has a bar. Presently closed due to building works on new sea defences for the harbour. The beach is filled with old and decaying boats, plus a few currently in use. Alas the sand is strewn with rubbish, a common problem, but Samuel is aiming to get it all cleared up and ship shape once the works are complete.
I had several interesting conversations with Samuel. A Ghanaian chap by birth who worked in banking in Germany and Norway for over 20 years, with a wife and family in Norway. He seems to really enjoys running his hotel here showing great concern for our stay to make it as nice as possible. Having spent so much time in Europe he wishes to see things in Ghana become more efficient, less corrupt, and enable true progress, but holds many doubts. Doubts which I see reflected on some of the political chat shows and news channels on their TV.