Summer in Ghana: A Photo Essay

It was the summer of 2009, just after the completion of my "cow" (junior) year at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and I was living in a former brothel turned volunteer house, complete with a bucket shower and machete-wielding "security guard." We were in Cape Coast, a fishing port city along Ghana's coastline in West Africa. I had journeyed there with a small group of cadets to volunteer for the summer with a organization called Global Mamas.

Cape Coast, Ghana  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

On weekends we ventured throughout the remarkable country, hiking to the highest point in Western Africa to swim in the Wli Waterfalls, canoeing to visit the Nzulezo community that lived in a village on stilts, and encountering beautiful elephants on our walk through Mole National Park.

A child outside Larabanga mosque, one of the oldest mosques in Western Africa  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

During the week, we were each assigned projects geared towards educating and empowering women who owned local businesses supported through the Global Mamas program. For my assignment I was partnered with an incredible woman named Esther, the proud owner of a roadside tailor shop that trained and employed women from all over the city. I spent my weekdays imparting my limited business knowledge from my courses as a management major in an effort to develop her skills as an entrepreneur. We opened her first business bank account, developed the branding for her line of handmade traditional Ghanaian apparel and wrote a business plan for the school she wanted to establish for girls and women to learn traditional artisanal skills like batiking, sewing and jewelry making.

Fishing boats in Cape Coast, Ghana |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

It's been nearly 10 years since that summer in Ghana, but the incredible people, culture and memories made there have kept it close to my heart and on the top of my must-return-to list since.

Children from Nzulezo, the village on stilts  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

Friends encountered in Mole National Park  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

Football match in Cape Coast, Ghana  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

Glass beads from a roadside stand in Cape Coast  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

Children in Cape Coast, Ghana  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

Children in Cape Coast, Ghana  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

Children in Cape Coast, Ghana  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

View from the hike to Wli Waterfalls  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

Children from Nzulezo, the village on stilts  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

Children from Nzulezo, the village on stilts  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

Children in Larabanga, Ghana  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

Security checkpoint outside the capital city of Accra, Ghana  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

Children playing in the street in Cape Coast  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

The family who managed the inn outside Mole National Park  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

Cape Coast Castle, one of the "slave castles" along Ghana's coast  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

View from Cape Coast Castle, Ghana  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

Villagers outside Mole National Park  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

A smiling child in Cape Coast, Ghana  |  Photo by Caroline Taft, The Brazen Gourmand

Volunteer with Global Mamas

Global Mama's mission is to create prosperity for African women and their families by teaching fair trade practices, offering business education, and providing a global marketplace for women to sell their handcrafted products. To learn more about volunteering, click the button below.

Esther and I at Global Mamas headquarters in Cape Coast, Ghana

A Taste of Ghana at Home


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