MODEL 3 is about environmental challenges and resources management. Since every model has a field trip in it, we embarked on a field trip to the kakum national park which is a rain forest in the kakum Atandanso community in the central region of Ghana, the purpose of the visit was to give students a practical experience of the what is taught in the class room as well as to help students release the academic stress. Our objective was to know how the park has been helping or un-helping communities around it. As always, a formal visit of this kind cannot happen without a courtesy call to the chief of the community. We first went to the park to make our own observation before visiting the chief and the community.
Off course, students ceased the opportunity to explore. It started with the nature walk which is a walk through the safe area of the forest over 1.4km under the guidance of Joe, the tour guide. The nature walk ended at the camp site, a site for researchers and tourists who may wish to stay overnight and have a feel of the forest and its reach fauna, this is where the tree house of kakum is found.
Joe took us to the mini water falls in the forest where all the animals come to drink water; he explained that we were not likely to see any of the big wild animals because they go deep into the forest during that part of the day. We then head to the place every visitor loves yet scared, especially for first time visitors, the Canopy Walk.
A 20.5m height and 350m long stretch canopy walk with seven distinct bridges in the long route and three in the short route. The short branch of the canopy is to provide a way for tourists who get traumatised and feel they could not continue to the end to be able to branch and return after the third bridge.
Though scary, we were all adventurous and took the longer route, some people out of fear kept mute throughout the journey, others were screaming for help even though they knew no one could help them at that point and others were actually laughing and taking pictures. By the time we all got down from the walk way, everyone was happy they made it.
We had lunch at the Kakum restaurant and headed to the chief’s palace. Like the stories surrounding national parks in most parts of the world, the community complained how they are marginalised by government with regards to employment into the park’s management, the elephant-farmer conflict and lack of compensation for communities relocated from the park.
Represented by the class reps, we made a donation of boxes of pencils to the primary school of the community. The school management were grateful and appealed to Kulturstudier to help them raise funds to roof their dilapidated nursery class room block.
We divided into groups and walked through the community to interact with the community dwellers, which are largely farmers and market women. Some people got to taste fresh cocoa for the first time as we learn how it is dried after harvesting.