Gaga Over Ghana

By Carole Stadelbacher
This item appears on page 35 of the November 2018 issue.
Carole and a Ghanian official at the AngloGold Ashanti mine — Ghana.

Among the essays submitted on the topic "Gaga Over Ghana," there was a clear winner, as decided by ITN staff, and it was that of CAROLE STADELBACHER of Riverside, California. Carole will receive a 3-year extension to her subscription to ITN (or she can pass her prize along to a friend).

The next topic in our ongoing series of essay contests, which is open to subscribers only, is "Lens on Koblenz." If you have been to Koblenz, Germany, write in; the limit on length is 300 words.

ITN staff take certain things into consideration when judging each composition. Mostly, we want to get a sense of the destination and its people and to be inspired to go there. Tell us about an encounter or experience that lifted you or gave you insight into the culture. What can someone expect to find there?

Email your essay to or send it to Essay Contest/Lens on Koblenz, c/o ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818. Include the address at which you receive ITN. The deadline is December 31, 2018. A prize will be given for the winning essay, which will appear in ITN.

As a member of the International Relations Council in my hometown of Riverside, California, I was part of a small delegation charged with selecting a Sister City in Ghana.

After an 18-hour flight, we landed in Accra, the capital. Huge 'Welcome' signs greeted us. One hundred miles later, we were in Obuasi, a Sister City candidate. Our accommodation, the Anyinam Lodge, beckoned but had to wait; a party in our honor, headed by the regional monarch, was underway.

While in Ghana, our generous hosts provided local dishes in their homes, while seamstresses fitted us for Ghanian outfits.

As tourists, we visited the Cape Coast and the infamous Elmina Castle, long a trade center for ivory, gold and slaves. The musty dungeons lay in sharp contrast to the apartments, above, of the earlier Portuguese, Spanish and British traders.

A trek through Kakum National Park provided scenic beauty plus levity as we groped our way through seven hanging-rope bridges.

Clad in special attire, we were allowed to enter the AngloGold Ashanti mine center. An elevator whisked us down 5,000 feet, then a truck moved us through the tunnels where men worked extracting the elements.

In Mampamhwe, the villagers all gathered at the school and welcomed us, singing and dancing. When we joined them, the townsfolk cheered us for our efforts.

In Kumasi, we were presented to the king of the Ashanti Region, in full regalia. Attendants fanned his majesty as we were individually introduced, and, shoeless, we approached the throne to kneel and be recognized.

On the road back to Accra, we stopped at a slavery memorial, where large photos of many slaves were set within wooden frames as a lasting reminder.

Yes, I am gaga over Ghana, and, I'm proud to report, Obuasi became our African Sister City in 2008.

Carole Stadelbacher
Riverside, CA