Friday, 21 September 2012

The Africa Diaries: The End

(If you've missed any of the previous posts about Africa, then you can find them all here)

Once I arrived back in Ghana (where everyone spoke English again - yay) I caught a bus to a small town on the coast called ... Cape Coast.

You might have heard of it?  It was the largest slave-trading centre in West Africa, and the castle (Cape Coast Castle) was one of the departure ports for slaves being transported to America.

The first thing I did after checking into my hotel (which had a TV AND a private toilet - luxury luxury luxury) was to go on a tour of Cape Coast Castle.

It was horrifying.

The following photo isn't great, but it's one of the 'rooms' that the slaves were kept in - sometimes for many weeks - until the next ship came to pick them up.

There would have been well over 100 men living and sleeping in this room.  Around the sides of the room and running through the middle are trenches.  Very shallow trenches.  These were used to move the waste out of the room.  I'm sure they weren't that effective.

This is the 'Door of No Return'.  It was the last door that the slaves (I don't want to keep calling them that, but I don't know how else to refer to them) passed through before they left Africa.  They would never return to their homes again.  Ever.  Just imagine how that must have felt.  

Ironically the castle was quite beautiful in an old, crumbly type way, and the scenery was, once again, amazing.

It was an incredibly moving experience, and while it was terribly terribly sad, it was also eye-opening.  Sometimes it's worth a bit of grief if it makes you a little less ignorant.

So after that, it was back to town ...

.. and then on to a Nature Reserve for a walk among the tree-tops.

Now I'm not normally that scared of heights, but we were up very very high ...

.. and the walkways felt a little flimsy ...

... and sometimes we were above the tree canopy (that's the tops of trees beneath my foot!).

Pretty amazing views though.

Unfortunately I didn't catch any on camera, but there are some excellent signs in the Cape Coast area.  These are some that I remembered afterwards and so wrote down ...

Virgins Preparatory School

Gaylords Theological College

"Everything But God" Spare Parts

Ah - classic.

And so that was it.  My journey was over.  I caught a bus back to Accra and then flew to New York and then finally back to St. John's.

It was really quite a short trip - only a few weeks - but it felt like so much longer.  And now that I've gone through all the photo's again, and re-read my travel journal (which also dwells on toilets and toilet experiences a lot), the number of memories I have seem to span a year, not just a couple of weeks.

I started this as a bit of tongue-in-cheek laugh at my toilet 'needs', but it's become more than that and has been so much fun to write.  So thank you for joining me in my memories - it's been great sharing them with you.

Me and the boys having a cup of tea

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