Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A Day in Elmina

The last time I visited Elmina was a Tuesday, which is the fishermen’s day off. The boats were in the harbour but very quiet and the market was deserted. This time was quite different. First of all we paid another visit to the castle. The guide was very thorough and I learned more than I did previously about the slave trade, the horrific journeys and incarceration in the bowels of these castles along the coast of Ghana. It is impossible to imagine the conditions and how anyone survived the long walks shackled together in searing temperatures with little and extremely poor sustenance.
 Nobody was released from this cell. Nobody came out alive. Some slaves walked from the north of Ghana, endured everything and died here before transportation on the ships.

The fishing community was very much alive. It all looked chaotic but evidently there are clear systems for selling fish and the atmosphere seemed similar to the Stock Exchange! The fish were quite plentiful and of a wide variety. I had never seen so many brightly painted but weathered boats. Some people sat on the bridge cheering the fishermen home as they passed underneath.

We walked around the town of Elmina to see what else happened there. A Spot was bursting at the seams due to the televising of the Manchester Football Derby. Huge cheers went up with each goal and supporters came running out onto the street shouting their jubilation. Most Ghanaians support a Premiership team but will never see them play live. Children were everywhere asking us to take photos just to see themselves on a tiny camera screen. I did wonder how many had ever seen their own image!

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