Giving to
Bryn Mawr

Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center

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History, Heritage & Culture

August 1 – 11, 2011

Join Bryn Mawr alumnae/i, family and friends as we explore Ghana, West Africa. Formerly known as the Gold Coast because of its vast deposits of this precious metal, Ghana has emerged as a historic, cultural and economic powerhouse of this region. We will visit the infamous slave castle and dungeons in Cape Coast where walking through the Door of No Return is a constant reminder of the plunder and degradation of human being that changed history forever. Ghana was most recently visited by President Obama during his first ever visit to the continent symbolizing the long and deep connection between the United States and Ghana.

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Preliminary Itinerary
(please click on location to reveal details)


Aug 1, 2011 - Depart

Depart U.S.A.

Aug 2, 2011- Arrive Accra, Ghana

Akwaaba! (welcome) to Accra- the legislative and commercial capital of Ghana where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. This evening, join us for welcome cocktail at the hotel. (D)

Aug 3, 2011 - Accra City Tour

Depart for a sightseeing tour of Accra. You will drive through the administrative and economic districts of Accra, the capital of Ghana. This 131-year old city has a blend of colonial and modern architecture that summarize her history. Other highlights include the W. E. B. Dubois Center for Pan African Culture, Independence / Black Star Square and Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and the Artist Alliance Gallery to admire and purchase authentic African paintings and other professional art works. (B,D)

Aug 4, 2011 - Accra Kakum National Park & Posuban Cape Coast

Early morning drive through the historic Denkyira Kingdom to Kakum National Park, one of the West Africa’s surviving tropical rain forests. Take a walk on the canopy walkway hanging 40 meters above the forest ground. After lunch, visit the Posuban Military Shrine where the Fanti traditional soldiers, prepare spiritually for war. You will be thrilled by the colorful philosophical symbols that will confront you. These shrines are wonderful examples of how art is used in the daily lives of Ghanaians. (B,D)

Aug 5, 2011 - Cape Coast- Castles & Slave Dungeons

After breakfast, visit the infamous forts, castles and slave Dungeons of Ghana. History will unfold the story of the slave trade which the impact is still felt beyond the shores of Africa today. Visit the Cape Coast Castle built by the Swedes in 1653 and was later taken over by the British. This castle also houses the West African Historical Museum established by the Smithsonian Institute in collaboration with the Ghanaian Government in 1994.

After lunch, visit the Elmina Castle, also known as St. George's Castle, which was built by the Portuguese in 1482. This castle is the first and largest European structure built in Sub – Saharan Africa. The colorful harbor nestle below the Elmina Castle, full of pirogues preparing to go to sea. Visit the dungeons where slaves were kept before exiting through the Door of No Return. [B, D]

Aug 6, 2011 - Cape Coast Kumasi

Check out after breakfast for a scenic drive through the forest zone to Kumasi, the seat of the Ashanti Empire to explore the legends of the famous Ashantis, whose legacies are still evident today. After lunch, visit Manhyia Palace Museum, to obtain first hand information on the legacies of the Ashanti Kingdom. A regal history that dates back to 1700 is told with relics and artifacts. Enjoy a drive through the city with monuments dedicated to the memory of the great Ashanti people. End the day’s tour at the National Cultural Center which features the Prempeh II Jubilee Museum and various studios of the brass makers, potters and batik makers.

Aug 7, 2011 - Kumasi- Naming Ceremony/ Ashanti Craft Village

After breakfast, take a scenic drive to participate in a Naming Ceremony. You will be led in a procession to the Paramount Chief’s Palace grounds where the whole village has already assembled with the Paramount Chief ready to perform the special naming ceremony which begins after a round of hearty welcome and speeches.

The naming ceremony, a spiritual and memorable experience begins with the beating of the “frontomfrom” drums and dancing performed by the local-village dancers who will also extend an invitation to the group to participate in the unique cultural dance. You will be given an African clan name.

After the wonderful encounter with Ashanti culture of drumming and dancing, depart for a cultural shopping tour of the three famous craft villages in Ashanti - Ahwiaa, the wood carvers’ village, Ntonso, the home of Adinkra cloth and Bonwire, the Kente weaving village. [B,D]

Aug 8, 2011 - Kumasi Akosombo - Besease Shrine

Depart after breakfast to Akosombo, the cradle of hydro-electric power in Ghana. En route stop at Ejisu Besease to visit an Ashanti ancestral shrine to explore the beliefs, history and bravery of the Ashantis. The Shrine was built around 1850 and is one of the few remaining examples of traditional Ashanti architecture. You will be captivated by the Ashanti historic oral account as it is told by an old and knowledgeable Ashanti traditional priest or a linguist. Continue the drive to Akosombo for overnight. [B,D]

Aug 9, 2011 - Akosombo, Volta Lake, Accra

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel. Depart for a picturesque drive to the Lake Port of Akosombo to witness the largest man-made lake in the world, Lake Volta which covers about 3.6% of Ghana’s total land area. Later, drive to Accra. [B,D]

Aug 10, 2011 - Accra - Leisure Day

Today is a day of leisure for you to explore Accra on your own. You could embark on a splendid shopping spree around some of Ghana’s trendiest shopping spots or the more gritty Oxford Street where one can find every item on sale. Oxford Street is also well known for its restaurants. Not to be missed is the Art Center- an open air market for artifacts from Ghana and other West African countries. [B,D]

Aug 11, 2011 - Departure

Enjoy breakfast at hotel. Check-out of your hotel and transfer to the airport for check-in and final departure back home.

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Cost and Program Inclusions

Land Price: $3,475 per person sharing
Single Room Supplement: $850

Included Features:

  • Accommodations and meals in Ghana as mentioned above
  • All in-country transportation by luxury bus
  • Professional English speaking guides and drivers
  • Daily excursions


  • Gratuities to guides, drivers and hotel staff
  • International airfare
  • Visa fees and airport taxes

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Bryn Mawr Enrichment Leader

Mary Johnson Osirim
Mary Johnson Osirim

Mary Johnson Osirim is Professor of Sociology. Her teaching and research interests have focused on gender and development, race and ethnic relations, immigration, the family and economic sociology in Sub-Saharan Africa, the English-Speaking Caribbean and the US. During the past 20 years, she has conducted fieldwork on women, entrepreneurship and the roles of the state and non-governmental organizations in the microenterprise sectors of Nigeria and Zimbabwe in which Bryn Mawr students participated as research assistants. She has many publications in these areas in such journals as International Sociology, Gender and Society and Women’s Studies International Forum and in a co-edited special edition of African and Asian Studies. Her book in this field, Enterprising Women: Gender, Microbusiness and Globalization in Urban Zimbabwe will be published by Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Indiana University Press in 2009. Currently, her research is focused on transnationalism and community development among African immigrants in the northeastern US. Her recent research will be included in the forthcoming book, Global Philadelphia: Immigrant Communities, Old and New co-edited with Ayumi Takenaka.

She has received several awards and fellowships including grants from The National Science Foundation, a Pew Faculty Fellowship in International Affairs, a Carter G. Woodson Fellowship at the University of Virginia and a fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She was also a Minority Scholar-in-Residence in Women’s Studies and Sociology at Illinois State University. Recently, she has been elected as a Commissioner for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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