There was no better way to work off some of that lunch we’d had at the Castle restaurant other than to head to the beach for a swim. Or at least so I thought. We moved swiftly away when the stench of faeces near the Castle restaurant beach became unbearable. One of the waitresses directed us to the Oasis restaurant beach which was even worse. A real let down this was. The Oasis restaurant itself looked pleasant enough.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom though as we experienced an exceptional sun set before we swiftly moved off the partly rocky beach onto the streets.
The youth had gathered to play basketball on the one and only public basketball court in Cape Coast. The court is sponsored by the organisation Hoops Care International and its aim is “empowering the youth through basketball by providing opportunities to develop leadership skills, healthy lifestyles, work ethics, commitment, honesty and integrity.”
We joined in a kick about with some youngsters on the streets. This was after all Chelsea’s Michael Essien’s hometown and folks here knew about their football! The ball was deflated and mimicked the movement of a shuttle cock when kicked but, that did not matter an iota to us. Most of the folks around us sat idly by taking in the sunset and the last bit of daylight. Others I suspected were on their way home to retire for the day. This was a huge contrast to the hustle and bustle of Accra at rush hour.
Dusk was fast approaching so we headed back to our hotel using a different route that brought us to the oldest Methodist church in Ghana.The Wesley Methodist Cathedral in Cape Coast (Ghana) was founded as a Christian mission station in 1835 by missionaries of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society (est. 1817 in London).
The story goes that……
“On January 1, 1835 The Pioneer Methodist Missionary, Joseph Dunewell, landed at Cape Coast in Gold Coast presently Ghana and began work among the Mfantse-speaking people of the Coast of whom some were already converted Christians.
In the first eight years of the Church’s life, 11 out of 21 missionaries who worked in the Gold Coast died. Thomas Birch Freeman, who arrived at the Gold Coast in 1838 was among the greatest pioneers of missionary expansion. Between 1838 and 1857 he carried Methodism from the Mfantse coastland to Badagry and Abeokuta in Nigeria and to Kumasi in the Asante hinterlands of the Gold Coast. He later died in Accra in 1890.”
The square on which the church was located was busy being prepared for an outdoor church service. Chairs were being unstacked and arranged in neat rows as the microphone was tested. We stood there to take it all in. The incredibly brave missionaries who founded methodism in Ghana and built this church had certainly left their indelible mark. Most of them were buried in the yard of the church as they fell one by one to malaria.