Gorée Island, Senegal

I’ve made such good friends in Dakar. Friends I hope will be around for years to come. A couple weeks ago these friends and I made the trip to Gorée Island. The night before I began to prepare to feel a sadness similar to my previous visits to Robben Island or DC’s Holocaust Memorial Museum. I know visiting these places makes us all sad in remembrance of  irrational suffering but…I don’t know…I just get so sad.

This time however, I was not sad. There was something so infuriating about hearing our tour guide explain colonial history that made me see an especially deep shade of red. I know he had to be trained to retell the history with a certain upbeatness but I just wanted him to be as angry as I was. And maybe he was.

While visiting Robben Island in South Africa I remember a group mate asking our guide (who I vaguely remember was a previous political prisoner in Robben Island) how he felt about giving these tours. He confessed his torment when he was initially hired and  how he found peace in sharing a story that needed to be told of acts that we all pray will never be repeated.

I wonder where our tour guide lies on the anger spectrum of having to retell this history.

In complete opposition of the treatment of slaves, the island was beautiful and in compete opposition of my anger I giggled when I spotted “thug life” twice.

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