The Slave River was a place that we stopped on our way to Cape Coast, Ghana. This was a monumental and life-changing site. When we arrived, we watched this short video of some of the brutal things that the enslaved people had to go through. Before we started walking on the trail to the river, we had to remove our shoes so we could honor the steps that our ancestors took. Pictured above was a photo of the last bath. The enslaved people would walk up through the river and pass this way to go over to the market area where the strongest individuals would be sold. When we went down to the river on the right hand side the water was moving but on the left the water was still. They made the enslaved people go through the river on the left hand side so they would not try to escape down the current. It was called the last bath because they would take bamboo sticks and “scrub” them which would actually hurt them and leave bruises on them. Our guide said something that really resonated with me, he said, “everything they touch, turns evil” talking about the colonizers.
At the river one of the most moving movements was when we gave libation. We walked up, said the river’s name, called to one of our ancestors, asked for something in our life, and then poured the libation. They said that every time that libation was poured, leaves from the bamboo tree fell off, symbolizing our ancestors accepting what we asked for. Over on the right side of the river when you looked at the stone on the ground you could see something sparkly. Being in Ghana which was formerly known as the Gold Coast, it is only right that this was actual gold specs in the river. The guide said that this gold has not been taken because there was curse put on it since it was in such a sacred place. The Slave River opened my eyes, and gave me an even greater appreciation for how strong my ancestors were.