The 2001 “Summer in Ghana” program was led by Dr. Emeka Ofobike, Associate Professor, and Chair of the Daverio School of Accountancy at the University of Akron. Other members of the group were:
Dr. Ofobike prepared informational flyers in the spring semester that were distributed and posted all over campus to advertise the program. He also made presentations to some College of Business classes to inform students of the program. These presentations included PowerPoint slides of pictures of various aspects of life in Ghana.
Those students who were interested in participating in the program then started weekly orientation meetings with Dr. Ofobike to discuss the details of the program. The orientation culminated in a pre-departure reception at the home of Dr. Ofobike. Members of the group were treated to authentic Ghanaian food and music, and were also able to try on some Ghanaian clothes. Mrs. Ofobike (a native of Ghana) provided insights and answers to last minute questions that the members of the group had about Ghana.
Students Youth Travel Organization (SYTO), based in Atlanta, handled the logistical arrangements for the trip. Dr. Ofobike worked with SYTO to prepare an itinerary for the duration of the 3-week program. SYTO arranged the air travel (Cleveland-Detroit-Amsterdam-Accra) with KLM Royal Dutch Airline. SYTO also made all the arrangements for hotel accommodation in Ghana, as well as all related ground transportation.
Dr. Ofobike made the necessary arrangements with the Ghana Embassy in Washington, DC for visas for members of the group. Each group member was responsible for completing the necessary regime of travel inoculations.
With all the arrangements completed, the group left Cleveland on the afternoon of Saturday, May 12 for Detroit, then caught a connecting KLM flight to Amsterdam, Holland, arriving in the morning of Sunday, May 13. The flight to Accra left Amsterdam early in the afternoon and seven hours later, the group arrived at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana.
Ghanaian caskets take on many shapes. They can be made in whatever shape symbolizes the occupation of the deceased. They are very elaborate and decorative, but also very expensive by Ghanaian standards (approximately $300 US per hand-crafted casket).
Ghana has a very distinct style of living and type of cuisine. Some of the groups' favorite foods included Red Red (red beans with red, ripe, fried plantains), chicken and rice, Fufu with light soup, peanut soup, and occasionally palm nut soup, kenke with fish, bankou, and other various stews. We also enjoyed Bitterlemon soda, Tampico, and Fanmilk Chocolate.
We took a trip to the small village of Aburiw and paid a courtesy call on the Queen mother of Abuirw. The Queen Mother in the African community is the second in command after the chief. She has a primary say as to who the successor chief shall be when the current chief dies. She also is a liaison between the women in the community and the chief and his court.
Including Kumasi Asante Kotoko Football, the Ghana flag, Kente Cloth and Nana Yaa Asentewa and the Asantehene
The British and Dutch both came to Ghana in search of slaves to take to the Americas. Cape Coast was a huge port city that was one of the last stops before being sent across the Atlantic. Slaves were kept in castles in very poor and inhumane conditions. Both Cape Coast Castle and the infamous Elmina Castle that remain standing today, and we visited them both.
Kakum Nature Park is a mixture of true rainforest and semi-deciduous forest that has been developed for ecotourism. The highlight of the park is its 350m cable and rope canopy walkway, with viewing stations linked by eight narrow suspension bridges along which you bounce, 30m above the forest flood. It's unique in Africa and one of only four in the world. It gives you a special bird's eye view of the forest, up where over 80% of its inhabitants-animals, birds, and insects, live.
This is one of the most spectacular beaches in Ghana. The sand is clean and a beautiful sienna color. The water is remarkably clean and the coastline is free of clutter and scattered with palm trees as far as the eye can see. Beach lovers everywhere will want to come to Ghana just to see this!
"The trip was well planned down to every last detail and the in-country program was extremely informative and educational. I would highly recommend the trip to anyone who is willing, or has the desire to learn about the rich heritage and culture of a country that is very different yet very similar to the United States."
- Martin Mayer