My Trip to Goree Island all started with a work. I had an amazing opportunity to do a military exercise off the coast of Dakar, Senegal with the Navy and the Senegalese Coast guard.
Here is the link to read more about the exercise: http://www.c6f.navy.mil/news/us-senegal-cabo-verde-conduct-amlep-operations-west-africa
When the ship pulled into the Dakar port, we were able to venture off to enjoy sweet, sweet liberty in Senegal for only a few hours at a time, a group of us decided to do a tour of Goree Island.
A group of maybe 6 of us left the ship and met our tour guide at the dock of the boat we would be taking to Goree Island. The boat ride was maybe 20 minutes long and the ladies that have souvenir shops are already starting to hustle. The women start talking to you all friendly then they hit you with the come by my shop for good prices, these women are relentless and in a last ditch effort they throw the guilt trip down which is a huge winner in my book. After a tour of the island we stop at the souvenir shops and the hustle continues, more guilt trip and “Remember me? You said on the boat over here you would buy from me.” At this point you must stay strong, or not, that is entirely up to you and if you see anything you like.
One of the first stops on the island was at a shack with beautiful pieces of art made from sand found in Senegal and glue from a Boabab tree (above). The picture below is of the Freedom Statue
Goree Island in a Nutshell was a slave island for millions of Africans from the 1500s to the 1800s before they were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean. The slaves were kept underneath the main quarters, and as you can imagine the comparison in living conditions were night and day from the slave holding areas and masters quarters.
The Door of No Return is said to be the last time a slave would see Africa again. They jumped into the sea from the hole/door/window in the wall and swam (assuming they made it) to the ship that would take them across the Atlantic.
The hustle game is strong in the streets of Dakar, we couldn’t walk two steps without being pulled and begged to buy something from swarms of street vendors. When the tour was finished, myself and the group got off the boat back in Dakar, our tour guide was kind enough to walk us all the way back to our ship. Goree Island is beautiful with incredible history and is one of the most heartbreaking places I have ever been. Another great trip for the books.
Ciao for Now…