We spent a few days in and around Cape Coast visiting colonial slave castles and forts, swimming in the massive surf and sharing the last two years of our lives over a few rounds of Club beer. For me the castles beautifully balanced striking architecture and a horribly haunting history. These structures are gorgeous; the real estate boasts dramatic views over the Atlantic and the white washed walls create a stark contrast to the brightly colored fishing boats beached on the shores below.
|Cape Coast Castle|
It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that from the 15th-19th centuries millions of Africans were funneled through these walls and shipped to South America, Europe and the Caribbean. When Europeans introduced textiles, horses and other western goods, the coastal African tribes bought the prized possessions on credit. Indebted, these Africans started capturing other Africans from inland tribes and repaid the Europeans using humans as a currency.
On one of our last nights a group of Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) from Liberia showed up at the same beachside hostel we were staying at. With great amusement Kevin, Lindsey and Julia taught me how to be a PCV. I got the high-level lingo, and typical highs and lows PCVs used and experienced and I was IN.
"Hi my name is Andrew - I'm a Returned PCV from China."
"Yeah, after I graduated I went to Chengdu to help rebuild schools and teach children after the earthquake in 2008."
"It was very rewarding but disheartening dealing with all the Chinese bureaucracy."
Poor Kevin and Julia, having just meeting me for the first time, had NO clue who the hell I was. This experience was kind of fun and incredibly challenging. I realized two things:
1) I'm really good at lying. I did have two years of actual experience living in China to draw on and I was able to sew it all together surprisingly seamlessly.
2) I really don't like lying. Even though we expected this ruse to last one night we ran into one or more of the Liberians in almost every city we visited! Suddenly I had to fall back into character or admit my lie. I kept all of these guys at an arm's length so they didn't get to know who I really was. And in turn, I never got to know who they were. Sorry if you read this, guys! Hope we cross paths again one day - I'll tell you the whole truth... and the first round is on me!