I'm not quite sure how to begin this post. It was an emotionally difficult visit, a heartening one and a surprising one.
Goree Island is an island off the coast of Senegal that featured prominently in the Atlantic Slave Trade. Twenty five million healthy slaves were shipped from there, many millions died there and it was an island that was a rest stop for many other slave ships that had set sail from other parts of Africa. Many slaves that weren't healthy enough were sold to neighboring countries. It is now a World Heritage site, home to 1800 people, and a living museum.
We saw the prison where the slaves were kept. There were separate rooms for men, women and children. And a special room for virgin girls. There was a special stone on the floor where they would be raped. If they got pregnant they would be set free, because the children who were of mixed race would have to be given the citizenship of the European father.
It was difficult to see, difficult not to cry and difficult to digest. But I'm so glad it stands as a testament to our very dark history. As people I hope we never return to that dark place. And as the tour guide said, let this place stand as a testament to our collective tragedy and our collective reconciliation and hope.