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March 17th, 2010
03:02 PM ET

Journey for Change: Day seven in Ghana

Editor's Note: Students from Brooklyn, N.Y. are traveling to Ghana as Global Service Ambassadors as part of a trans-Atlantic youth service and advocacy summit, bringing together African-American youth and Ghanaian child labor trafficking survivors. The project is called Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service and is in partnership with the Touch A Life Foundation. The Ambassadors will advocate for the eradication of child slavery when they return and they will visit Capitol Hill and the United Nations as part of their efforts. Read their blogs from the trip below.

Jasmine Figueroa, Age 15
Journey for Change

Before I went on the trip to Ghana, I visualized and thought of what the food was going to taste like and how Ghanaian people live. Now that I have experienced the culture, I think that the Ghanaian people have a lot of pride in their homes. They take good care of them no matter how poor they might be. When I first met my Ghanaian partner, who is a former child slave, I thought she was very beautiful with a big smile on her face. She is 13 years old and I knew we were going to have a loving and beautiful relationship toward each other. I began to talk to her and she was very polite and outgoing. She told me about when she was a slave and told me all of the things that she had to do when she worked. She had to get the nets for the fishing boots, cook for the fisherman and his family, and clean the fish. She slept outside on rocks or on the hard ground or with the animals. And she was treated like an animal too. I shared a little about my life too. I told her that in my life I have problems at home and in my life and she was shocked. She thought everyone and everything in America was perfect. But when I heard about her life as a slave, it was sometimes too hard to bear and to hear. There were a lot of tears, but also a lot of laughs.

My experience in Ghana was sad, happy, and emotional. I liked the entire trip, but the part that meant the most to me was being on the Lake Volta meeting the trafficked kids either on the islands or rowing to the sides of their boats. It just tore me apart when I first started to experience the reality of child slavery. The kids were as young as 2 years old that were sold into slavery and forced to work the waters of Lake Volta. And the slave’s masters, who were fisherman, did not care about them at all. Some of the children only ate once a day and did not have proper places to sleep. They were tied to trees and beat if they did anything wrong.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Ghana • Journey for Change
March 16th, 2010
05:52 PM ET

Journey for Change: Day six in Ghana

Editor's Note: Students from Brooklyn, N.Y. are traveling to Ghana as Global Service Ambassadors as part of a trans-Atlantic youth service and advocacy summit, bringing together African-American youth and Ghanaian child labor trafficking survivors. The project is called Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service and is in partnership with the Touch A Life Foundation. The Ambassadors will advocate for the eradication of child slavery when they return and they will visit Capitol Hill and the United Nations as part of their efforts. Read their poetry, writing, and songs from the trip below.

Bloom like a rose/Early in the morning sun/Act like a lion.
Sydney Smart, 13 years old

You were once a slave/Now you are free in God’s hands/No more suffering.
Jasmine Figueroa, 15 years old

Your wings were tied now/they’re free so spread them and fly/Now you’re free, free, free.
Benjamin Hall, 16 years old

Be thankful for all that you may receive.
Don’t complain no matter what you do.
People go through things you wouldn’t believe.
So just look to God, he’ll see you through.
I am hurt, my siblings had to be brave.
Experiencing most of life as a child slave.
Day and night they worked hard and toiled though stressed.
I’m happy, they’re free and they are blessed.
My eyes have been opened to see such hate.
We cannot let this stand, we must advocate.
This has been a journey of love, strength and will.
To make a change from captivity to Capitol Hill.
Joshua Hall, 16 years old

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Ghana • Journey for Change
March 12th, 2010
12:39 PM ET

Journey for Change: Day five in Ghana

Editor's Note: Students from Brooklyn, N.Y. are traveling to Ghana as Global Service Ambassadors as part of a trans-Atlantic youth service and advocacy summit, bringing together African-American youth and Ghanaian child labor trafficking survivors. The project is called Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service and is in partnership with the Touch A Life Foundation. The Ambassadors will advocate for the eradication of child slavery when they return and they will visit Capitol Hill and the United Nations as part of their efforts. Read their blogs from the trip below.

A child slave with his owner. Photo credit: Benjamin Goode

A child slave with his owner. Photo credit: Benjamin Goode

Benjamin Goode, Age 13
Journey for Change

The Paramount Chief of the Krachi region invited Journey for Change and Touch A Life to his palace to eat and be showed a nice dance. There we ate deep, fried chicken, potato salad, and rice. After and before dinner we were showed a nice, smooth, and pop like African dance. The dance was amazing and the dancers were dressed in the Ghana flag colors. The dancer’s kind of added hip hop to their dance by the way they popped their shoulders and hips. After I was invited to stay at the palace along with my chaperone Sergo. It was very fun and we had our own room service. The bedroom was big and had its own bathroom.

We also had a Mitsubishi air conditioner and a small refrigerator in the room. The air conditioner was nice because I have been living without one since coming to Kete Krachi. Every place else only has fans and it is so hot in Ghana. After freshening up, Sergo and I went back to Village of Life and waited for our friends to come back from Lake Volta. After they came back we all talked about the day on the lake. We are now blowing up water balloons because we are going to have a water balloon fight with the rescued child slaves. We are also going to blow bubbles with them and have bike races. Oh, and show them how to double dutch. We are showing them American games and they will show us what they do in Ghana to play.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Ghana • Journey for Change
March 11th, 2010
12:52 PM ET

Journey for Change: Day four in Ghana

Editor's Note: Students from Brooklyn, N.Y. are traveling to Ghana as Global Service Ambassadors as part of a trans-Atlantic youth service and advocacy summit, bringing together African-American youth and Ghanaian child labor trafficking survivors. The project is called Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service and is in partnership with the Touch A Life Foundation. The Ambassadors will advocate for the eradication of child slavery when they return and they will visit Capitol Hill and the United Nations as part of their efforts. Read their blogs from the trip below.

A child slave with his owner.
Photo credit: Benjamin Goode

A child slave with his owner.
Photo credit: Benjamin Goode

Benjamin Goode, Age 13
Journey For Change

Today was day 4 and it was better than all of my other days in Ghana because we got to travel over Lake Volta and free two child slaves.

When we first arrived at the Lake, I was surprised because I thought the lake would be much smaller than it was. Just to see the people at the shore of the lake was sad because kids had no clothes and the adults were very poor. They were trying to sell things as we waited to leave on the boat.

After riding for a while, we came up to a boat that had three child slaves – one boy who was about 5 and two teenagers. I thought it would be easy to free that little child but it was not. It made me mad to see the slave master smiling and laughing about the situation because it really wasn’t funny. I thought he was taken us for a joke. To see the little boy clamp on to his slave master made me realize that the master has him brainwashed which also made me mad. Also, he tried to get away with owning him by hiding the little boy under the bow of the boat. And when the little boy finally came up, he lied and said it was his son. But you can tell it was not his son, because he was in rags.

When we had to leave him, I was angry because the little boy had the right to freedom, an education, proper nutrition and I did not want to leave him.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Ghana • Journey for Change
March 10th, 2010
11:49 AM ET

Journey for Change: Day three in Ghana

Editor's Note: Students from Brooklyn, N.Y. are traveling to Ghana as Global Service Ambassadors as part of a trans-Atlantic youth service and advocacy summit, bringing together African-American youth and Ghanaian child labor trafficking survivors. The project is called Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service and is in partnership with the Touch A Life Foundation. The Ambassadors will advocate for the eradication of child slavery when they return and they will visit Capitol Hill and the United Nations as part of their efforts. Read their blogs from the trip below.

Benjamin Goode, Age 13
Journey For Change

Today was day three and we had to get up earlier than yesterday.

Today Joshua (fellow Journey for Change member) and I woke up at 4:55 AM. When we got up I was weak and tired, but after splashing hot water on my body and my face, it all went away.

After being told we had to be downstairs the previous night at 6:15 AM, Joshua and I had an hour and a half to spare. Once it was time to get our day started, the Journey for Change and Touch A Life participants loaded onto the buses and headed out.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Ghana • Journey for Change
August 19th, 2009
10:09 AM ET

Slavery needs more than an apology

The 'door of no return' at the Cape Coast Castle in Ghana. Slaves would exit this door and board ships bound for the western hemisphere.

The 'door of no return' at the Cape Coast Castle in Ghana. Slaves would exit this door and board ships bound for the western hemisphere.

Katrina Browne
Special to CNN

The Senate voted to apologize for slavery on June 18. The House apologized last summer. The first family - descendants of Africans, of enslaved Africans and of slave-holders - visited a slave fort in Ghana.

These were historic occasions, and they occasioned the kind of hue and cry that always accompany the subject of slavery and whether we still need to reckon with it.

I believe we do need more reckoning, and a little more love and a little more logic would help that process.

Logic first: There's this quasi-math problem in which things don't add up. Many African-Americans naturally feel as if there is unfinished business from the past, while many European-Americans (and others) don't think they should inherit burdens from a past not of their making. So there's this generational equation to be worked out, and it will take big hearts, eager hearts, to do so.

Keep Reading...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Ghana • Raw Politics
July 17th, 2009
11:50 AM ET

Obama on slavery: 'Capacity for cruelty still exists'

Obama points to the Door of No Return, which would shut before Africans were put on slave ships.

Obama points to the Door of No Return, which would shut before Africans were put on slave ships.

Wayne Drash
CNN

President Obama slowly walked across the grounds of Cape Coast Castle, a slave outpost in Ghana where hundreds of thousands of Africans were shipped as human cargo to a life of bondage in the United States, South America and the Caribbean.

"You almost feel as if the walls can speak. You try to project yourself into these incredibly harrowing moments," Obama told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

When the president reached the "Door of No Return," an arched gateway with thick doors that would shut behind African men, women and children before they were forced onto slave ships, Obama looked out over the Atlantic Ocean where waves crashed onto rocks. "Obviously there's a sense of what a profound sorrow must've been felt as people were hauled off into the great unknown," he said.

What does he tell his two daughters, Sasha and Malia, about slavery?

Keep reading...

July 16th, 2009
06:30 PM ET

Photo Gallery: Returning to Ghana

Editor's Note: African Americans moving back to Africa choose to relocated to Ghana more than any other country on the continent. Tonight on AC360°, we talk with African Americans who have moved back to Ghana to hear their stories.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Africa • Ghana • Pres. Obama African Journey
July 14th, 2009
10:25 AM ET
July 14th, 2009
10:22 AM ET
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