With my day off two of the girls and I went to visit Elmina castle. It's about 20 minutes from Cape Coast and sits on a peninsula in Elmina, a colorful fishing town that has changed colonial hands multiple times over the centuries. Considering what I paid to go on the castle tour it was short and not very informative, but it didn't change how powerful the place was. Elmina castle, originally built by the Portuguese and later taken over by the Dutch, was the biggest center of slave export in Africa for 400 years. The guide said that it's impossible to estimate the number of slaves that passed through the castle, but it's generally agreed upon that almost every slave that left Africa in those 400 years went through Elmina. Sadly, the tour left a lot to be desired information wise, but we were able to see all the things I'd read about. Like the gate of no return, which is an opening in the wall barely large enough for me to fit through (the slaves would be skinny enough at that point to get through without a problem) that led to the boat; and the room where slaves were taken to die, being deprived of food and water if they'd caused problems. In there I could actually feel the heaviness in the air on my shoulders and in my lungs. The suffering that happened in the castle was nothing compared to what the slaves went through on the ships in the middle passage though. What happened to them on the journey across the Atlantic is considered the first holocaust in history. I cannot imagine the pain, suffering and fear that the slaves felt in that castle and I cannot imagine their captors being so apathetic to their plight just to make a profit. Greed is a disgusting thing. The plaque on the way out summed it up well: In everlasting memory of the anguish of our ancestors, may those who died rest in peace. May those who return find their roots. May humanity never again perpetrate such injustice against humanity. We the living vow to uphold this.