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.
Out first event was at Kakum Park which is a national park. There was a long, long walk from the entrance to the canopies. It took about an hour to an hour and a half to get to the canopies by walking.
The canopies are like rope hung up about 130 feet in the sky. It was 333 meters long and the floor is wooden logs.
I didn’t really want to go up there but I had to do it. It was scary, it rocks from side to side and even made squeaky noises. I even watched another fellow Ambassador cry and call for her mother. After getting off of these seven scary canopies, there was a short walk down and off to the bus we went.
Our next stop was to Elmina Slave Castle. Elmina is a slave fort where 60 million people were held. Twenty million died in the castle, 20 million died on the boats on the way to America, and 20 million were sold into slavery.
In the cells, Elmina held 1,000 slaves, 400 women and 600 men. Here, the slaves were beaten, malnourished, and treated wrong mentally, physically, and emotionally.
This place touched me a lot because it made me want to cry and it made me uncomfortable. Knowing what happened to our slaves is bad, but to see where it actually took place is horrible and it puts images in your head.
To know that woman can be beaten with her kids watching and nothing is done just disgusts me. Elmina had a room there called the 'Door of No Return' which our ancestors walked through to a boat that would take them through to the Caribbean and to the United States.
One thing that stood out to me the most was this canon ball that was chained to the woman’s leg and she had to stand there for a whole day with no food or water. This was a punishment for them.
Today was tough.
Editor's Note: Benjamin Goode is a 13-year-old Journey for Change Ambassador. He is blogging about the trip to Ghana and taking photographs.
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