Goree Island and the Slave House

Goree Island is situated off the coast of Dakar, Senegal. It was the traditional slave port. In our visit there we saw what used to be a slave house as well as a church where the Christians who felt bad about the process, absolved themselves and “purified?” the slaves. When we were being lectured in the church there was more depth to the meaning but this is the final message I have from that more than a week later.

Goree Island is also unique because it is a part of Senegal but monitored and controlled by the UN. This is a big I think. I remember hearing Malang say that when that after colonization the island was being fought over for control or some such and I guess the UN stepped in and created a memorial for the tragedy of families torn by slavery. On the highest point of the Island there is a giant stone structure which is carved to look like a slave boat. About 100meters from this there are giant German made guns which the French used to defend both their port and a fair bit of the Western coastline.

Anyways Goree Island is currently a giant market for Senegalese artists. During the time the French colonized western Africa (Dakar was their capital for the entire west), they made investments in educating/ training locals including in the arts. That tradition has lived on so there is a large artist community Dakar, with the culmination in Goree Island.

The hawkers in Goree Island are like nothing I have experienced. In India, Thailand and a number of other South/Southeast Asian countries the hawkers not only yell and grab you and are incredibly aggressive they are almost intimidating. In Senegal and in the Gambia the hawkers are loud but only once did anyone grab my hand and lead me anywhere. While neither of these countries is pickpocket free vendors are more likely to tell you to zip your bag up because it is open than take advantage of you (not meaning that they won’t try and sell you an item for 200% of its value but that they would rather that you give them your money in a fair trade rather than they steal it or take it).

Anyways on the side column I have pictures of Goree Island and a small album of the slave house. I didn’t really take pictures of the slave house (with the exception of the door of no return) and some views from the balcony because it is not pleasant and a place I necessarily want to see again

1 comment:

Aunt Donna said...

Cait-We are loving this blog! Grandma is even learning how to scroll :) Your insights are informative and quite fun to read. Keep it up :)