17 February 2011

Reflection on Ghana

We arrived in Ghana early Sunday morning.

On Sunday and Monday (Feb. 6th and 7th), I traveled to several castles and slave dungeons, as well as a unique water village.  The water village was interesting.  The village itself is several hundred years old, but it is constantly being rebuilt due to its location above the waters of a large natural lake.  The entire village is built on stilts that are sunk at regular intervals into the lake bed.  It was rather hard to determine the total population, as we only had a quick tour, but it is home to possibly a hundred or so people (maybe more).  We met the local chief, but it was strange to walk through this intimate village as pure tourists.  I am still processing the visit, and don't really know yet what my opinion of the whole situation will be.

On Sunday, we visited two sites that had formerly been slave dungeons and defensive coastal castles.  These sites were built and expanded by various colonial powers over a period of about 250 years.  I still can't put into words exactly what I experienced at the sites.  Even now, I am having a hard time processing the fact that these structures once housed hundreds and thousands of humans who were kept in such in-human conditions and treated as no more than dumb animals, then shipped over the Atlantic Ocean to unknown lands, never to return.  Along the very same course that we travelled from Brazil to Ghana, simply in reverse.

While at one of the slave dungeons, we walked out through the large set of doors known as the "Door of No Return".  We stumbled instantly from a quiet and somber tour through the fort into the heart of a local gathering of fishermen and their families, preparing their gear and boats along the coast at the foot of the structure.  It was a riot of color and sound.  We were surrounded by people shouting and laughing.  It was such a contrast, it was hard to comprehend.  Especially after experiencing the depths of the slave dungeons.  Both should be remembered, both scenes should remain as testaments to the resilience of the spirit.

No comments:

Post a Comment