Cape Coast Castle: The Door of No Return

The Cape Coast Castle was the most horrific historic building I have ever experienced. Situated merely yards from the shoreline, the castle became one of the most prominent slaving forts in West Africa because of its prime location for ships. European trade on the Ghanaian “gold” coast began with the extraction of natural resources but…

One Hundred Years of Fish Guts

After a brief stay in Accra, we had planned to move west along the Gold Coast to Elmina. Ghanaians would typically squeeze into a ten-person van called a bush taxi for this kind of trip. However, on the advice of the hostel owner, the Lundy-Livingston clan traveled to a taxi station in Accra called the…

Acclimating to Accra

We crossed the border from Togo into Ghana the most authentic way possible: on foot. Strapped into hefty backpacks, coated in dust and glistening with sweat, our band of bedraggled Midwesterners shuffled through the sand. The ocean wasn’t far from Sean’s apartment and then we followed the coast a short distance to the border. As…

The Rains of Kpalime

Our last morning in Lomé, I awoke with a start on my brother Sean’s rainbow cot in the living room of his apartment. Like most residents in Lomé, Sean does not have air conditioning, so I started sweating at 6 a.m. and didn’t stop until we reached Kpalimé on the Ghanaian border. When Sean first…

Welcome to West Africa

My first impression of Togo, West Africa, was oppressive humidity, auburn sand and the smoky-sweet aroma of melted waste. My parents and I stepped out of the Lomé airport into darkness with nothing more than our backpacks and the desperate hope that my older brother, Sean, was somewhere nearby, ready to usher us through a…