September 6, 2009
For part of our orientation last week, we went to Ile de Goree, a small island off the southern coast of Dakar. Goree is another paradox. It is an absolutely beautiful island, with old, colorful buildings and trees and flowers hanging over the small cobblestone paths. However, it was also a stop along the slave trade, with a "maison des esclaves", or slave house, still standing on the island. For more info, check out: .
We took a tour of the Maison des Esclaves and of the Women's Museum right next door (also kind of a weird dichotomy?), and then walked around the island. Lesson learned: do not give your real name to the women who seem friendly on the ferry over, but who turn out to be incessant vendors of jewelry and other souvenirs. Traveling as a group of white Americans, we are obvious targets, and it is nearly impossible to escape the endless hassling and calls of "hey, my sister!" I made it out alive, but was most likely ripped off after a long bargaining process, and ended up with way more jewelry than I had initially wanted.
Some photos of Goree:
Panoramic view from the island:
In the Maison des Esclaves, the room for young girls: