Liz Hopkins and Davey West
After our usual breakfast (with the added bonus of fresh fruit) the team boarded the Sunseekers bus for another adventure in the North. Our day was both educational and enjoyable as set out by our Fulbright agenda. We endured yet another two hour drive in order to reach the former location of a slave market in Salaga. We interacted with the people of the present day market as we waited for our tour guide to arrive.
To begin our venture we visited wells which were once used to bathe slaves so that they would be presentable to sell in the market. Hearing our guide describe the process of "polishing" the slaves by applying shea butter painted an unpleasant picture of how much these people were treated like objects. Upon leaving the wells we returned to the site where the slaves were once sold. The group saw many of the shackles and weapons used to keep the slaves under control while they waited to be sold, traded, or transported. Many slaves would be sold multiple times before they reached the slave castles that our group visited in Cape Coast.
When our history lesson ended we took a short drive to visit Dr. Clerico's old friend Haruna, the Paramount Chief of the Kpembe Region. Our bare feet brushed against dried cow skin as we sat in the palace of the chief for a brief visit. The floor was blanketed with cow hides and we all left our shoes at the door out of respect for the chief. While southern chiefs all have ceremonial stools the chiefs in the northern region sit on cushions made from stuffed animal skins. Damba translated messages back and forth between our group and the chief's representatives, and we took a few moments prior to departure to make individual photos with the Wura.
Upon our return to Tamale the group was rewarded with one of their favorite activities: some light shopping at the local cultural arts center. Many of us bought paintings, cloth, bags, and baskets galore! We are all looking forward to visiting Bolgatanga tomorrow, to see where all of these baskets are actually made.
We arrived back at our hotel around 5:00 and had to go ahead and order our dinner in advance, as we learned last night that it takes about 2 hours for our food to cook. It is hard to believe that our northern travels are half-way over, and we will be returning to Fairhill this weekend. There are many mixed feelings about the drastic change from South to North; each leg of our journey has its own unique ups and downs.