Haven’t blogged in a couple of weeks and this morning I just felt the itch to write again. Think it was also triggered by Sas mentioning in between the beers that she hadn't read my blog in nearly two weeks and wanted to know what was new. Funny how personally rewarding it can be, even though I am not sure who reads - apart from my faithful brother in Trinidad that is!
Took some time off to go to Elimina for the long Easter weekend with Ashes and some friends – now work, no e-mails, not even cell phone! Was a good time to catch up with me and just relax. Alas, alas though all good things must come to an end and now I am back at home. Funny how easy Accra/Ghana has become home. Not sure if it is where my heart is, but for now it will do.
The idea of 'being home' is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. Both in terms of going back to Jamaica, but also being here in Ghana. Visiting Cape Coast or Elimina always fills me with mixed emotions, especially when I see the old slave forts. It reawakens my sense of returning home. Hard to explain, but it’s that feeling of belonging, of roots, of being connected. There are few places that leaves me feeling restless but I must confess though that for some strange reason this stretch of coastline that is lapped by the waves from the Bight of Benin/Gulf of Guinea always leaves me feeling like that. Here the waves seem to pound the shore relentlessly without ceasing. I often wonder what my fore parents must have thought when confronted with the view and sound of the sea for the first time. It must have been frightening to say the least.
When my Mom visited we went to Assin Manso, an old slave market about 50 km from Cape Coast Castle. Here the slaves were bathed and cleaned before continuing their forced walk down to the coast. With slaves being taken from as far away as Nigeria and Niger one wonders how many died before making this stop. The river here is aptly known as “Donko Nsuo”, or Slave River. In the Akan language, "donko" means slave and "nsuo" means water. Therefore Donko Nsuo literally means "Slave Water" hence the Slave River. Sadly though, there is not much documentation on the numbers of slaves who had died here. The community along with development partners has done quite some work in developing a museum (not open when we got there, the caretaker was gone to Accra!). We walked down to the river where the slaves were bathed and cleaned before continuing the journey on foot to the Castle. It felt almost eerie to wash my hands in the river. The local villagers say the water in the river looks red because of the blood of so many slaves that had died or been killed here. Those who were too weak to continue were murdered and buried on the banks of the river.
I am in no way sentimental about issues dealing with slavery - or rather I try not to be. But there are so many things that confronts me - language, food, culture, even the ring games of children that echo the words I used to chant in primary school back in Jamaica. So I guess it's true, I must have returned home in some sense. I have started making a list of Ga, Akan and Twi words that are used in the same manner that they are used in Jamaica. Fascinating to say the least - note to self, topic for another blog.