Elmina Slave Castle

The Elmina slave was first built by the Portuguese (1482), but was taken over by the Dutch(1637), and then the British (1814). The Portuguese were known to have treated their slaves worse than the Dutch or the English. The castle was built about a few miles down the coast of Cape Coast Slave Castle, and there’s a watchtower right up the hill.

When we went to the Cape Coast Slave Castle (Barrack Obama went there on his visit to Ghana) a few months before, we toured it with our entire group. It was very emotional. We had a combination of whites, Africans, and African Americans on our tour. I feel like since everyone knew each other, people felt more comfortable to get emotional.

The Elmina slave castle was known to be more intense tour; it was one of the most popular castles used for slave trade. At its peak, around 30,000 thousand slaves strutted out of the infamous “door of no return” per year.  Even if the castle averaged 10,000 slaves a year, you’re still looking at over 4 million slaves over 400 year stretch. AND THAT’S JUST ONE CASTLE!

Women were asked to lift this 25 kg cannon ball…if they did not succeed they were whipped 40 times.

As we walked the castle, we were brought into large cellblocks that held hundreds of slaves at a time. You could still smell it! The smell of death: a built up of body odor, urine, feces, and lost hope. People talk about slavery occurring so long ago, almost as it’s just a story to learn from. But, being at this castle made it clear how REAL and recent it is.

We were on a group with some other foreigners, and a group of adults that were joking around throughout the tour. That kind of lightened the mood, which was less depressing, but it also hindered our experience. We were told about the female slaves that would be allowed to shower and get clean only so the masters could rape them. We saw the doors that allowed the guards to secretly rape the slaves AGAIN after they had been raped by the head of the castle. So sickening. So gruesome. So sad.

What’s crazy to me is that outside of the slave castle, normal life goes on as if there is no depressing historic sight near by. The town is not built on tourism from these castles at all. At first I didn’t like it. Hundreds of years of suffering, millions of lives lost, generations of enslavement, and unless you stepped foot inside the castle, you would have no idea how disheartening Cape Coast’s history is. Yet, the sight of kids playing , people hanging out by the water, and sailors setting off for a nights work represented freedom. These sights are constant reminders that the past in the past. As important as it is to remember what has happened and to also learn from it, it is also important to move on in life in order to live a life filled with freedom. The workers outside of the Elmina slave castle may not live a luxurious life, but they’re finally free. Free from European rule. More importantly, they are free from enslavement.

Cape Coast is filled with churches and other buildings built by the Dutch, Portuguese, or the English. Those tall buildings serve as a reminder to all of the people of Ghana how far they’ve come.

All love.

Jeremy Kwabena Ginsburg

oh! ah! um.hmm, eiii! GHANA!

So I promised myself I’d do at least one blog post under the influence…so here it goes!

okay sorry I had to delete the rest cause it didn’t make much sense and most of it would be to hard to understand because I was trying to type in Pidgin and Twi.

Instead, here are some situations that have happened in the past week, day, month, or year, in……… Ghana:

So, I’m in the middle of writing my final exam, which is 3 HOURs long. I stop to take a break, stretch my eyes and look around the room. I look outside the opened door and notice two security guards wacking a mango tree with a large bamboo stick with their backs turned towards the security check point. mmmmmmmm Ghana!

As I was walking, I passed by a man waering a T shirt that read “I am nothing with out God”. He noticed me as I was reading his shirt and then he waved to me, smiled, and said “hello!”. hiiiiiii…. Ghana!

I’m in line at the store to buy a pastry and the cashier says, “please, give me two cedis”. There are like 3 people in front of me but she demands me to give her two cedis before it is even my turn to buy my food. I give her the two cedis so she can make change for the person in line before me. Then, when I get up, I buy my 50 pesua (cent) donut and ask for my change of 1.50. “I’m coming”, she says. But, she just goes on with her business and rings up the next patron in line. I ask again, “sista? mepaakyew mame (please give me) one five”. She gave me 50 pesuas and again she repeated herself, “I’m coming”. 5 minutes later she is still “coming”, so I decide to grab two bottles of water for the 1 cedi credit that I was owed. la la la la la la la…. Ghana!

The power was out and I was so hot that I couldn’t sleep (even though I was naked). I was sweating so bad. Itching nonstop. Reverting back to my first few nights sleeping in Ghana, I go to the bathroom to bath and cool off so I can fall asleep. Then, I get to the bathroom, undress myself, and notice that there’s no running water! Gotta go fetch some water from a bucket and take a bucket bath :-) Grrrrrrreat eiiiii Ghana!

The next morning, I get up to go defecate (it’s an efficient alarm clock) and I get to the bathroom with soap and toilet paper (always have to come prepared). After I finish my business I notice that the water is not running and the toilet won’t flush. eeeeeeeeeeeeeew  #ghana

I’m driving in a taxi and we come to a 4 way traffic light but the lights are off because the power is out. Instead there are 6-8 men with tree branches that have leaves on the end directing traffic and pointing at cars where to go. No whistles, no lights, no bright orange shirts. no problem! ooooo Ghana!

So I was buying fruit at the local market walking distance from my dorm. There are a few kids that work there that don’t go to school. I don’t want to go into detail about child labor in Africa, but…. yada yada yada……everytime I buy fruit from this little girl named Rita, I always remind her that she promised me she would go to school next year (she’s 11 I think). Rita is one of the most popular vendors at the night market, and she always yells for me and tells me to come talk to her and then buy her fruit. 99% I do just that. So, I was on a quest to buy some fresh fruit for under a dollar and I noticed there were more kids there than usual. I started to get angry that there were so many children there working when they should be in school!

So, I start some small talk in Twi with one of the other little girls. I ask how she’s doing, where’s shes from, how old she is, etc. Then, I ask her if she goes to school, and she says yes. Then, I try to formulate a  sentence in Twi to say, but you are here working, why aren’t you in school?! We go back and fourth with out understanding what the other is trying to say for a minute or so (this happens frequently), and then I finally switch to English. I barked in a serious tone, “why aren’t you in school! you should go to school!” she replied quietly, “because today is Saturday!” hahahahaha…..DOPE! Ghana…

www.

“Love,

Jeremy”

goestoafrica.com

HELLO WORLD!

Welcome to my BLOG! I’m going to try to keep this PG rated but beware. If you get offended easily then please just call my mom for updates. She will probably be embarrassed to pass along the inappropriate info I’ll be adding, and should be able to give you an update on what I’ve been doing that will be fitting for all ages. And, like every other Jewish mother, she loves to talk about her children.

So, This is my first post and it will probably be the least interesting cause I’m still in America, but in one week I will be leaving to go to GHANA, the only country other than the USA to ever host myself for longer than two months. It’s GHANA be a fun trip. The official language in Ghana is English, though there are many tribal languages that are spoken there. The most common language is Twi (pronounced CHWEE). Ghanians do not speak French, though all of its surrounding countries do.I plan to visit them and use my French conversational skills. In Ghana, I’ll be living on campus at the University of Ghana in dorms. I’m super excited to go! I just bought my Malaria medicine and can’t wait to take it so I can hallucinate and have crazy dreams. I’m still figuring out everything I’ve gotta do before I go there, but I’m putting up this blog so all my family, fans, followers, lovers, haters, comrades, Americans, Jews, fat people, and everyone else can follow along as I embark on my journey to Africa. This blog will contain pictures, videos, poems, raps, haikus, posts, words, punctuation, and excitement. It’s going to be sad at times. It’s going to be happy at times. It’s going to be racist at times. It’s going to be funny at times. Hopefully you all will find the racism funny, because I am not a racist. So get ready to tune in. Bookmark this bad boy on your browser, and prepare for my posts! Tell your friends!

Please comment and let me know your thoughts!

One LoVe,

Jeremy Ginsburg