Monday, June 18, 2012

Weekend photo-journey: Part 1!

Get ready for a rad photo-journey of my weekend!

Day 8

Saturday morning at 9:30 am sharp, we all hopped on a giant bus with airplane-style seats to start our 3 hour drive to Cape Coast!

 Along the way, I noticed that some Ghanians still rock thatch-roof huts! While it may seem surprising to see this in a country that is a good degree more developed than the rest of the continent, we learned that there are many reasons why individuals choose to live this way including tradition, familial ties, and so on. The important thing to note is that it is a choice and not necessarily a poverty-driven decision, even for those who live in the slums.

The lush green meadow went on forever!

 Finally reached Cape Coast, a town that was one of the first British settlements on what was then named the Gold Coast (and is now Ghana!). It was incredible to see how many of these old buildings still stood, occupied by the locals, of course. I honestly wish I had taken more pictures of this area. The history nerd in me was going nuts.
 The Atlantic Ocean. I forget how rarely I have the chance to visit the ocean! Gorgeous.
Wall sculptures outside of the Cape Coast Castle. I'm not sure what they mean or when they were made, but I love when illustrations tell stories.

Women by the castle were showing us how they balance pounds of goods on their heads! I didn't have the chance to try it myself, but apparently it's as hard as it looks.

 About to begin our tour of the Cape Coast Castle, a slave castle built by the British in the 1800's during the slave trade.
There were piles upon piles of old canon balls that never saw their debut across the open water.

The place is enormous!

About to enter the male slave dungeon...

...which was also visited by the President and the First Lady in '09! The Ghanians I have met seem to greatly admire Obama.

There were actually quite a few other tours going on simultaneously. I imagine it's a hot spot for school field trips. These kids were cracking me up! I couldn't help but take a picture.

This was not a dungeon, but it looked like some sort of holding cell. There was some kind of indescribable smell in there that made me slightly uncomfortable.

Part of the inside of the male slave dungeon. Literally, we were standing where dead bodies, plague, piles of feces, and hundreds of crammed human beings were once held for extended periods of time.

There were three windows in each room of the dungeon which were the only sources of light and oxygen. When it rained, water would enter through these windows and wash away some of the fecal matter into small gutters on the ground which led to the sea.

This is our tour guide! Here, he is standing in front of what was once the passageway where slaves were led to the giant ships that would take them to the Americas. The year slavery was officially abolished, this passageway was sealed as a symbol of hope that these atrocities upon humanity should never again be allowed to occur.

Outside of the dungeon, our guide showed us these containers that were used as wells. Some were also disguised as holes used to spy on the slaves to make sure they were behaving as they were being moved to the ships.

I bet this castle really looked beautiful in its prime. Yet, I have almost a sick, half-hearted appreciation for its aesthetic,  especially considering the crimes that took place inside.

Clearly, this place meant business.

Our view from the courtyard.

In the dungeons, we saw that groups had left tokens to memorialize and honor those ancestors who had died here.

Directly adjacent to the slave castle was a huge coast lined with fishermen! We spent some time here appreciating the view and mingling with some of the locals. Shelby taught an adorable Ghanian girl how to take a picture with her camera.

I loved all the rich colors of the stones.

Brian, Josh, Stasia, and Queena!

The view didn't even look real. It may as well have been Monet's doing.

The smell here nearly choked me at first! It took a little getting used to the fishiness. And I like fish. But this was pungent.

The fishermen were catching little crabs! I think this one was dead...

We were told not to touch dogs because they don't get any of their shots here and are likely to have fleas :( They are still so cute to watch! And the beautiful designs of this woman's clothing just make me swoon.

Boats, everywhere!

My heart will go on! (Check out the gnarly battle wounds on my legs) Also, we all know there was enough room on the plank for you, Jack, you swine.

 Huge fishing nets!

I couldn't get enough <3

1 comment:

  1. Great photos and so much history, though none of it very happy.