Culture Quest 2022
Lauder Culture Quest Ghana and Ivory Coast began in the vibrant city of Accra with a group dinner at Le Petit Oiseau. Students enjoyed watching a local dance and musical group that played and danced to Ghanaian and continental songs.
The following day, the LCQ competition began with 10 teams of 5 people (42 students and 9 partners) setting out to explore Accra. One of the first places visited was Independence Square, a historic landmark that symbolizes Ghana’s fight for freedom. The square, once the site of many political rallies and protests, now serves as a recreational park.
Some other teams visited the National Museum of Ghana, a site showcasing the rich history of Ghana and its people. Students also shopped for colorful outfits and ornaments at Oxford Street and Mokola Market and sampled the local cuisine including popular street food dishes such as waakye, banku, and kenkey.
The Ghana trip’s highlight was the two nights spent at the Afrochella festival in Accra. Afrochella is a music and arts festival that attracts people worldwide to celebrate afrobeats and other African music genres, culture, and fashion.
Following the Afrochella festival, the group visited Elmina Castle on Cape Coast to learn about the history of the transatlantic slave trade. Elmina Castle served as a departure point for thousands of enslaved Africans. The fortresses’ dungeons and cells stand as a lasting testament to the brutal and inhumane conditions faced by enslaved Africans.
The teams also stopped at Kakum National Park, a protected area of tropical forest covering 357 square kilometers where they participated in guided wildlife and canopy walks.
To celebrate New Year’s Eve, the teams gathered at Polo Beach Club to relax, socialize, and enjoy the stunning views of the sea. On New Year’s Day, the teams flew to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, for the second leg of LCQ.
While in Abidjan, the teams visited the Basilica of our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, the capital city of Ivory Coast. The Basilica is considered the largest Catholic cathedral in the world in terms of floor space, spanning an area of 30,000 square meters.
Other activities in Ivory Coast included visiting Maison d’Akoula, and Domaine Bini Lagune. The Bini Lagoon is home to several traditional fishing communities, and teams learned about the local culture and traditions by interacting with the local people. They also participated in dancing, kayaking, fishing, palm wine tasting, and bird-watching.
The Quest ended with group dinners in Abidjan, where teams swapped stories on their exploration of Ghana and Ivory Coast’s rich cultural heritage and history. A truly magical Lauder experience!