Sharon King Hoge
A profusion of modern high-rises, gaudy casinos, aging colonial structures, mini mansions and shantytowns all stitched together with vendors hawking their wares up and down every street, greater Accra, Ghana’s capital city, is exhausting. Cantonments offers a relatively serene retreat from the melee. Of the city’s 50 official planned and unplanned neighborhoods, the tony diplomatic quarter, equidistant between the airport and the center of town, provides an oasis of calm. Originally intended to be a British military camp, it evolved into an enclave of shady, tree-lined streets; contemporary townhouses; and stately embassies.
CHRISTCHURCH IS REBOUNDING from 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that devastated the city, destroying 80 percent of the downtown Central Business District and killing 185 citizens. When I visited in 2012, the ruins of the central city were cordoned off — I recall peering through barriers to see the fallen tower of the stately cathedral and then driving by the temporary Cardboard Cathedral built of cardboard tubes, timber and steel. As that temporary church continues to hold services, the church spire is displayed at the Quake City Museum, and plans to rebuild — not replace — the cathedral are in discussion.