Cape Coast, Ghana

The dungeon where slaves were kept at the fortress in Cape Coast, Ghana.

The dungeon where slaves were kept at the fortress in Cape Coast, Ghana.

About a year ago I headed to Accra, Ghana to create content around (RED)'s ongoing efforts to fight HIV in Subsaharan Africa. This was one of many trips I had taken with my friends at (RED), but my first time traveling to the western part of Africa. At the tail end of the trip I had a couple of days to explore a little, and I headed to Cape Coast. Once there, I was able to tour a white castle that once was used as both a fortress and community, as well as a dungeon and trading port for human beings kidnapped on the continenet. 

It was a haunting experience exploring these dark dungeons, some of which sat directly beneath a chapel, and hear about the horrdendous experiences these slaves endured.

After a somber tour, I made my way down the beach. The tour had put me in a somber mood, and the weather was dreary. But I found a vibrance in the local community. I helped a group of fisherman pull a giant fishing boat in, witness lound, raucous bartering over fresh catches, was spectator to a heated soccer match, and finally found rest under an awning at a beachside bar where I made a few friends and sip cold beers.

Drinks on the beach with new friends in Cape Coast, Ghana.

One of the men I made friends with was from Liberia. He had been abducted as a child soldier and spent some time as a youth living among other soldiers, being forced to commit atrocities far beyond his understanding. He eventually escaped, and made his way along the coast to Ghana and eventually to safety. He told me to turn on my iPhone recorder as he spoke, the waves crashing as bits of afternoon sun attempted to break through the gray soup above us (see below for a recording of his story).

Another of the crew of 4 or 5 that sat chatting with our toes in the sand, ordering cold beer after cold beer, was a young aspiring photographer. He photographed me, and I photographed him photographing me (you can see these two images if you go to the "hello" section on this journal). 

These are scattered thoughts. But it was one of those unexpected travel days that gets soaked into a special part of the brain and stored far more vividly in the long-term memory bank. I can still remember how badly I had to pee after all those beers and long Africa-style stories! The sound of the surf as a group of boys attempted to bath their pitbull. That melancholic feeling you have when you're alone and experiencing some that feels at once mundane and profound, connecting with other humans that you may never see again, experiencing your own worldview widening ever-so-slightly. The joy of pure human interaction, a feeling of being part of a global fabric. Some large celestial body, illumunied with bits of hope, eclipsing the darkness of a shattered world.

Adam SjobergComment