Disclaimer: Some of this may not make sense.
Today our group toured the Elmina Slave Castle. Elmina is one of two slave castles in Cape Coast, the other being the Cape Coast Slave Castle established by the British. I didn’t set any expectations for myself for the trip. I did that for several reasons. I won’t list them here. I was impressed by the vivid descriptions provided by the tour guide. He literally walked us through the castle as if we were entered and new enslaved beings until we reached “The Point of No Return.” I literally had chills as I thought about the fact that the last piece of Africa for the them was a room with no ventilation. Every step of the tour was uncomfortable. We walked on floors where others had died. We entered rooms where innocent women were raped. We stood in a chapel constructed by people who thought that this entire enterprise was acceptable. I don’t know about my other group members, but I could see the people crowded there in the pavillion area, could imagine the overseer standing on the balcony preparing to choose the next woman for the night, could feel the heat of each room as if people were still there. I do not know where my African ancestors are from. I haven’t even the slightest clue. What I do know is that visiting the castle weighed on my heart.
I will never forget the sea. The waves were the biggest waves that I have ever seen in my life. They were rough and loud and nothing like the waves that meet the Carolina coast. At one point, as I was lost in my thoughts as I usually am, I thought about ships coming in– huge ships. I also thought about those same ships leaving, moving back across the sea. The sea is all I know about my ancestry. Between Africa and America someone in my family willed that they would stay alive, for my sake. That was mildly comforting.
On a similar note, I find it very funny that our group receives many stares. Here, we are called “brunis” or “obrunis” to mean “white man” or “foreigner.” I guess you can say that I have lived most of my life as a foreigner. Home definitely has a different meaning now. But I am very happy for the hospitality of the Ghanians. I ever have a “big sister” here who looks out for me at Mary Queen of Peace Catholic School where I teach English to second grade students. It reminds me a lot of the South, or southern black culture. I’ll have to tell me parents about it. Its almost liked they raised me to fit into this place.