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|The beautiful ferry ride to Goree|
|Christa, Marjie, and Me! <3|
|There were a lot of men out fishing as we came into Goree|
|The Forte D 'Estrees coming into Goree Island|
|I loved coming into Goree, stunning color and architecture!|
Goree Island was used to trade goods and slaves. It is both gorgeous, eclectic, haunting, and humbling. Goree Island was a slave trade post for over 300 years. It was surreal to walk in the same location where hundreds and thousands of individuals were brutally treated as animals as opposed to human beings with hearts, souls, feelings, and families. I don't remember if it was said that 30% of people died on the island waiting to be shipped out or if 30% died once on the ship to the Americas. Regardless, that number is profound.
|Our personal tour guide on Goree!|
|Walking to the "House of Slaves"|
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As we walked to our first location, the House of Slaves, we first saw the beautiful sculpture "La Statue de la Libération de l'Esclavage." I believe it was said this was created after slavery was abolished. The woman clings to her husband who remains shackled, however, the shackles are now broken.
The first place we visited on Goree Island was the House of Slaves. It was the most humbling experience I have ever gone through. In 1978, Goree Island was included as one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. It was said that Goree was the largest slave-trading centre in Africa. I love what UNESCO writes on their page, "Today it (Goree) serves as a reminder of human exploitation and as a sanctuary for reconciliation." I would agree with this statement. Our tour guide said, "here we forgive what has happened but we do not forget." I couldn't agree more. We have come a long way, but sex trafficking, human injustice is still a real problem today. God, I pray we can continue to make strides in direction that takes us further from racial injustice, sex exploitation, and abuse of young, old, and the vulnerable.
|Maison Des Esclaves - Entrance to the House of Slaves|
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We were told that slaves were weighed prior to being placed on a ship to America. They needed to weigh 60 kg prior to going to America because they found that those who weighed more typically survived the ship travel to America.
|The outlined square on the bottom of this wall is where the scale used to be where slaves were weighed.|
Families were torn apart on Goree Island. There were separate living quarters for men, women, children, virgin girls, and infants. Many of the virgin girls would try to get pregnant because they were allowed to stay on the island until they gave birth. It's hard to imagine being a young teenage girl and trying to become pregnant for fear of what might happen if you were taken away. I can't even imagine the pain and sorrow that was felt. Young girls were also very valuable. Many of the virgins were paraded around and sold to "masters" who would then have sex with these girls. You could feel the sorrow as you walked into each room.
|The slightest view given in each holding area|
|Entering the House of Slaves|
|Walking towards the door of no return|
|Coming up on the door of no return|
|The door of no return|
We then went upstairs in the House of Slaves and saw pictures of Goree Island and old remnants of shackles that were used.
The rest of the time spent on Goree was spent taking in the culture, the colors, the sites, being harassed by the women/men selling souvenirs, spending sweet time with our Senegalese friends, and soaking in the beautiful atmosphere and sunlight.
|I absolutely loved these flowers!|
|The view from the top of Goree!|
|My sweet friend, Abdul, took this picture of me. He told me he knew just the spot that I needed to take a picture, and he was right!|
|Some of my sweetest friends!|
Finally, before leaving, I felt an overwhelming need to sing, "No Longer a Slave." I am a privileged white woman born in the United States of America. I'm so thankful for my family and the opportunities I have had. I was humbled and reminded that me grumbling over being in school for my Master's degree is so silly, petty, and ridiculous. I am privileged and blessed beyond measure. I am so thankful I have the opportunity to travel freely and explore this equally small and large world that I live in. I'm so thankful for the men and women that I met and the friends that I have made for a lifetime. God, I ask for your continued healing. I ask for not only spiritual freedom but also the freedom from hate, injustice, and prejudice. As Mamadou reminded me, there are men and women of every color that behave well and very poorly, but we are here together, we are able to stand next to one another and work together and for that I am very happy and thankful!
"The caged bird sings
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). (N.D.). Island of Goree. Retrieved from https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/26