Friday, June 15, 2012

Visiting Cape Coast

This past weekend has been the most eventful, emotional and stressful since I have been in Ghana. It was very emotional because we went down to cape coast to visit 2 of the castles that were used to house slaves during the transatlantic slave trade. Visiting the castles was very eye opening, its one thing to hear about the atrocities that were committed against humanity and another to visually see the places where people were kept and abused. Experiencing the castles, I can’t even imagine how people survived living under these conditions; it was hard for me to stomach the reality of the abuse that my ancestors were subjected to. The most overwhelming thing was the fact that the woman’s dungeon still had a stench, a smell that I’m sure was 200 times worse when they were living in those quarters many years ago. As a part of our tour we were told gruesome stories of what happened to some of the men, women and children kept in the dungeons, children 10 and over were treated as adults. It was really hard to hear especially since you were standing where the victims stood. Touring the castles was eye-opening especially when we were shown that El Mina castle was built with a secret staircase to the governors room, so that females slaves could easily be brought up to him at his whim and the fact that a church was built directly over some of the dungeons, it was a direct contrast of heaven and hell. Another interesting thing was the fact that William of Orange aka William the silent’s name was within one of the castles because he was involved with the slave trade. For those of you who don’t know Rutgers has a statue of him in Voorhees mall since the university has Dutch Origins.
The weekend wasn’t all gloomy; we actually had a great time exploring the town of El Mina where we were able to climb up a never ending staircase to get an amazing view of the town. We also visited Kakum National Park and went on a canopy walk consisting of 7 different canopies, which were 40 m above the ground, that’s about 130 ft YIKES!!!!!! I was deathly afraid because the canopy was so narrow and so high above the ground and it moves when you walk on it, but I made it through and I’m so glad I did the view was definitely worth it. Overall it was an enlightening weekend. 

Cape Coast Castle
Small dungeon used for rebellious slaves, where they basically suffocated to death
This dungeon would house anywhere between 100-200 slaves
Secret staircase to the governors bedroom
The View of the stairs we walked up
Me and the backdrop of the town
Canopy Walk


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