May 9, 2011

Day 6

Redeemer HANDS Team:

Today we started off early for Cape Coast. When we left the house at 6:50am it was just starting to rain and then began to pour and we started to pray that it would stop so that we could enjoy our day. Well shortly after it did stop, but other unforeseen things happened. Cape Coast was supposed to be a 3hr drive but about an hour into our drive we smelt something burning and had to stop and have the bus checked out. Turns out the clutch was going and needed to be fixed. There we stood in a small town stranded, until our driver negotiated to have another driver with a similar bus take us to the Coast for the day. After 4.5hrs we arrived at our first destination on the Coast.

The Kakum National Rain Forest would be the start to our day as we climbed the Canopy. We were told it was built by 2 Canadians in the tops of the trees in the national rain forest, it was so cool to see how high we were and see the tops of the trees so far below us. Our team made it across with no falls, or major freak outs about the heights. It was also a good workout to the top and back down. We left the National Park and had a delicious lunch on the way to the Slave Castle. This was the thorn for most of our team. It was a lot to take in as we saw the dungeons for the male and female slaves, stood in them and were told that slaves’ blood, feces and all the conditions that they lived in for the 3 months in the dungeons were below our feet in the ground. After seeing were the slaves were kept we saw the courtyard where they were bought, sold and branded.

Then we went out what was called the Door of no Return, where the Ghanaian slaves last saw there homelands before being shipped to the Islands and the Americas. In 1992, the other side of that same door was named The Door of Return as 2 slaves’ descendents’ remains were brought back through the door as a ceremony to mark the history. We then saw the British quarters and how much larger they were than the small cramped dungeons that anywhere from 1000 to 1500 slaves were kept in at a time. We learned that about 2 million slaves were shipped out from the Cape Coast Slave Castle.

We then saw where the church was placed, right above the male slave dungeon. While the slaves were crying out below, the British were having church and praising God right above them. The slaves saw it as heaven being above them where the British were in church and hell being where they were below. Next was the museum about the slave history from Ghana and a lot of our team found the Castle in general, but specifically the museum which showed pictures and shackles, very hard to handle.

We then did some shopping in the courtyard and left. On the way back to Asamankese we stopped off at a Beach Hotel to walk down to the Atlantic Ocean where we all waded in and loved the cool feeling of the ocean water against our legs. Several pictures were taken of individuals and our team at the ocean. After the ocean visit we started the long drive back on the bumpy winding roads with a very fast driver who didn’t slow for pot holes or speed bumps. We got home late, much later than we expected too and had a very late but amazingly tasty supper waiting when we arrived back.

At devos after eating we sat and discussed our day, mostly the Slave Castle and how it affected us and our thoughts on slavery. Those of us that knew different historical information about the Transatlantic Slave Trade discussed this and got to share some information with the rest of our team. After devos, people have been journaling and processing the experience in different ways as we were all affected differently. Some of us thought of our ancestors who lived through the slave dungeons and the journey across the ocean into slavery and some of us wondered whether our ancestors had participated in the persecution of the black slaves. It is a quiet evening as many thoughts go through our heads before we all head to bed.

Tamarrah & the Redeemer Ghana Hands Team

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