The Island of Goree

The Island of Goree, a former slave island near the coast of Dakar, Senegal, is one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking and fascinating places I ever visited. All at the same time. Some years back I ¬†was determined to go, even by local transport (quite an experience, your back and bones will agree…). I took a guide with me and we chose the local way of traveling; a “sept-places”, which is a station wagon with seven seats, some partly welded in. If you’re lucky it’s only seven people and their luggage, since people also tend to take live animals in or on top of the car. Leaving early, and traveling from Banjul to Barra (crossing the river by ferry) to Dakar, it took a bit less than a day to get to Dakar. It was a 2 days’ trip. After visiting the island the next morning we returned to the Gambia that same day.

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Pictures: the slave house, the rooms/ cells and the “point of no return”: the gate through which captured slaves were lead onto the big ship that brought them to America. Once every so-many weeks. The name “Goree” sounds kind of familiar when you’re Dutch, doesn’t it? That’s because the Dutch have been one of many people who have been fighting heavily to obtain the island. And the “trade”…

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