Several of my classes that revolved around international themes have brought up the topic of memorials or places with a dark history and how to act while there. For example, it was in bad taste to be taking smiling and happy photos in a place where thousands of lives were lost. So, keeping this in mind during our visit to the Cape Coast Castle, I did not take single photo with me in it, just because I didn’t know how to remember or capture its disastrous history in a photo. However, a friend took a photo for me and it turned out to be exactly what I needed to remember the castle. This is the photo attached and the others are scenes of the castle and in particular of the “door of no return.”
The dungeons and condemned cells in particular brought out the despair. During the tour the guide told us that the floor was a dark brown/black and not leveled because we were standing on the centuries old feces, blood, and other bodily fluids. I noted that we had shoes on and we on top of it, and just knowing that they had to mark on the wall just how high it was piled up along the wall when they removed some was astonishing. The enslaved Africans were forced to endure the stench, stand and lay in it.
Lastly, the tour guide said something poignant which inspired me. He said something along the lines of “Many of you are feeling anger, despair, and other similar emotions. I challenge you to push yourself to action. Modern day slavery is alive and well.” After hearing that I immediately remembered the IDS news article about the African woman who came here for work and was pushed to be an unpaid servant for a graduate student with children. Modern day slavery was alive and well and going to Ghana has pushed me to fight back in future.