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Published: October 12th 2008
FRI. OCT. 10 2008 Resided for 2 nights at the One Africa Beach-front Lodge. The lodge had a very Afro-centric and Rasta themed design through-out the place. Each room was an individualy thatched roof hut, named after outstanding people of color. My room-mate, M. Pilcher chose hut #6 - named in honor of Queen Mother Moore. The place was clean and tidy...no air, a non-working fan, but lots of breeze off of the Ocean, which was just a few steps away. Oops...forgot to say, there was no hot or even warm water...but, it was "all good" as we were not "ugly American tourist"...we endured!
On Fri. morning, we had a choice of activities for the early part of the day: some took batiking and most of us opted to visit an agricultural farm, which was owned by Mama Kelli and her husband Dr. Kewku Andoh- a College Park, GA based business. The product being shared was the natural herb Moringa. According to Kelli, this tree is the tree of life of the Bible, being recommended for treatment and prevention of many illnesses and diseases. The product is available on-line. Kelli provided us with free samples. She is delightfully witty and informative person. We saw the actual Moringa trees and the drying house which facilitated leaf drying of the herb.
To go back a moment, while traveling to Cape Coast our bus stopped at the Slave River Site, but it was closed. So, we went back the approx. 40 miles to the town of Assin Manso. We were told of the history of the site, allowed to hold a 1.5 ft. length of chain which was found in the Slave River and a ball weighing approx. 15 lbs. We saw the graves of 2 former slaves who were returned for final burial: Crystal (Jamaica) and Robert(US). In walking through the bush to reach the Slave River, the guide explained that in their area the word slave is never used, instead the endearing term of Ancestor was preferred. We walked the pathways and after .75 mile, we came to the river, which was the last bath for slaves before being presented on the auction block at Elmina. We took many photos of the river and the burial place for our ancestors.
SAT. OCT 11, 2008
Only 10 miles from Cape Coast Castle, Elmina was the first substantial European bldg. So. of the Sahara.
We traveled through the town of Elmina, setting - off at 9:15am. We saw a lot of ancient buildings, including a lot of Dutch and Portugese street & business names. The major commerce here is: fishing. The Elmina women primarily process and distribute the fresh catches. We had pointed to us the "estate houses", which were set-aside for those African merchants who brought slaves to this castle.
Our group, some more than others were deeply touched by the guided castle tour which included the sordid details of the inhumanity of the Atlanta Slave Trade. While this was my second visit to the Castles, it does not get easier when I touched the walls of the women's dungeon, inhaled the odor of the ages, felt the lack of ventilation and also saw and passed through the Door of No Return. My passage over the footsteps and passageways of our ancestors will not be forgotten. My first visit was in 1977. I shared with my group that the Cape Coast Castle was simply preparation for the realities of Elmina.
Following our Elmina experience, we set-off for Accra, our starting point. Enroute, we passed the site of the former Liberian Refugee Camps...the town of Buduburam. Reportedly the Ghanian government, after the Liberian Civil War ended, forced the deportation of thousands of Liberians to their country of origin: Liberia. This, despite that many had resided in Ghana for 15 or more years. More inhumanity to man...
We ventured through Kosoa, which means "market" in the Houssa language. Our guide pointed out the heavily loaded truck in front of our bus which carried cocoyam, plantain and cassava. Our guide said that it was likely headed for a "chop bar" in Accra, having been purchased in Kosoa.
We arrived safely in Accra. It is Chinese for lunch Sat. afternoon.
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