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  • Writer's picturetarynfelder

The Castles in Cape Coast + Heartfelt Visit to Jamestown

Before traveling to Ghana I planned to visit the Cape Coast Castle and the Elmina Castle.  I googled them, skimmed their wiki pages and braced for what I assumed would be an emotional visit. To my surprise my tour of each castle didn’t evoke the emotions I anticipated. It may be that everything I saw was in line with what I’ve learned and seen over the course of my life, that I’m doing a better job holistically at being compassionate vs empathetic as I have in the past being overcome with sadness from other people’s suffering. Don’t get me wrong, the conditions that slaves endured and some survived were implorable, devastating and beyond inhumane. However, I was more impacted and moved by what’s happening [or hasn’t happened the past 400 years] in Jamestown.

I visited Jamestown one day prior to visiting the castles. I received an up close and personal tour from Nii who introduced me to the inhabitants [adults, children, orphans, even twin goats] of one of the most devastating communities I’ve ever seen. Nii doesn’t have to live in Jamestown but he choses to, because he doesn’t want to leave the work he does for kids for someone else to do. He’s a gentle soul, and vegetarian since he’s not able to eat the animals he lives with [he referred to a brown and black goat identical in size as 'the twins’]. There’s an old fort at Jamestown that was used during the slave trade, as an export for gold and other resources, and the beach surrounding it is currently inhabited by some of the poorest people in Accra. The land is still prime ‘real estate’ today and I learned the government recently demo’d the majority of the make ship homes people built from scraps since there’s a pending deal in place to sell the property to China. As I walked thru Jamestown I witnessed people rebuilding since they don’t have any where else to go. Here's the billboard showcasing the future development plans for Jamestown.

Nii and his twin brother provide free tours to people like myself and simply ask for a donation, school supplies, etc of whatever amount you feel comfortable giving at the end. They use the donations and money to care for the orphans of the community and stock the school for the Jamestown children with supplies. I saw the make ship complex where the children live, the school, the Christian and Muslim churches on the grounds while also observing the occupants working intensely in fishing boats, drying | cooking | smoking | delivering fish to the market as this is their only means of making money.

Throughout my visit in Ghana I kept hearing the phrase ‘the year of return’ and being praised for making the journey to West Africa, but while walking the grounds of Jamestown I noticed I kept repeating aloud nothing has changed here in Jamestown in 400 years. My visits to the 3 complexes confirmed that I need to continue to work daily to live + focus in the present. There’s a lot we can and should do to help those that are still severely suffering from the atrocities on the past now in present day. I’m working with Nii to determine how I can personally make monthly contribution to his efforts + work with the children of Jamestown. If anyone else is interested in contributing as well, please let me know.


Elmina Castle + Cape Coast Castles

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Kimberly Bent
Kimberly Bent
Sep 03, 2019

Wow thanks for sharing. I am definitely interested.

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