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Fredericksburg and sister city in Ghana are worlds apart
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BY FRANK DELANO
PRINCE'S TOWN, Ghana--It is simple to list the similarities between this town by the sea in West Africa and its new sister city of Fredericksburg 5,000 miles away.
There are none.
The city in Virginia and the town in Ghana have almost nothing in common aside from their sister-city proclamations of last year.
By Fredericksburg standards, Prince's Town is remote and poor almost beyond belief.
Many of Prince's Town's 3,000 people make less than Ghana's average per-capita income of $450 a year. Most people in Fredericksburg make that much or more each week.
Prince's Town lies 164 miles west of Ghana's capital of Accra on a palm-fringed coast dotted with old forts and castles. Europeans seeking African gold and slaves built the forts centuries ago.
The main coastal road is paved, but the branch to Prince's Town is not. The 11-mile home stretch is variously bumpy, dusty, steep, muddy, slippery, submerged and occasionally impassable.
Prince's Town has electricity, but not much of it. Like the rest of Ghana, the town is subject to rolling blackouts. Droughts have drawn down Lake Volta, the source of most of the country's electric power.
Many houses in Prince's Town have electric lights. Some even have televisions with antennas mounted atop tall bamboo poles. A few houses have small refrigerators.
But the single transformer that serves the town is not sufficient. Street lights trip the breaker. What power there is is single-phase, not suitable for running motors.
Internet service in Prince's Town? Forget it.
Prince's Town does not even have land-line telephone service. Cell phone users can sometimes make a connection from the tall battlements of Fort Gross-Friedrichsburg on a rocky ledge by the sea at the edge of the town.two princes, two towns
Germans built the stone fort in 1683 and named it after their Brandenburg prince. Fredericksburg was named in 1727 after his cousin, an English prince.