Two weeks ago, the CIEE study abroad students and I embarked on our first excursion. We left on a 4 hour bus drive to Cape Coast, Ghana. We first went to a historical site named “The Slave River”. This is the place where slaves were taken to have their last bath before being taken to the castles where they would wait to be shipped off to America. We arrived at this place and watched a short video that depicted how the slaves were treated on the ships. It was extremely difficult to see them be treated like animals. We then were invited to remove our shoes and walk down the path where the slaves once did. It was a very sacred experience as we walked through the forest to arrive at the river. After they were bathed, they were tied to the trees to dry before continuing to walk to the castles.
After this, we traveled to the Cape Coast Castle. I researched this place before arriving, but nothing could’ve prepared me for what we saw and experienced. We stood exactly where thousands of men and women were beaten and tortured. The men who rebelled were sent to a separate cell where they would be left to stave and suffocate. The women, however, were raped and beaten. Our tour guide pointed out that the Europeans who resided there at the time had built a church above the dungeons and chambers to worship at, as well as living chambers for the governor. This really struck me because I found it completely barbaric that these people could worship and live above these dying, miserable slaves. I think this point really shows how twisted and barbaric the minds of these people were.
Another point that was difficult for me was realizing how many slaves we have in our world today, still. According to globalslaveryindex.org, we still have 40 million modern slaves worldwide. I obviously don’t have a solution, although I wish I did. It is going to be a goal of mine to find a way that I can help the discontinuation of this, even if it’s small. It is so completely cruel and blows my mind that it is still happening today. It is important to be educated on things like this so that we can help save those innocent people.
Following our day, we went to our hotel where we stayed the night before heading to the Kakum National Park. This was hands down the coolest thing I have ever done! It is a rope canopy walkway high up in the forest with the most beautiful view I have ever seen. I swear Africa gets more and more beautiful every day! I am so grateful that I am here to experience these things and to become more educated on our world.