A day off in Dakar

I had a day off yesterday, and went via ferry to Goree Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site off the coast of Dakar. Goree Island was one of the major transit points for slaves shipped to the New World, and more than 6 million Africans were sent through it.

The island’s Museum of Slavery, located in the main shipment building, has two floors: One downstairs where the slaves were held to be shipped, and the upstairs offices of their masters.

Downstairs, there is a passage called the Door of No Return, and it was the final door slaves were sent through before boarding the slave ships.

A heavy place, a powerful place, my feelings were all over the board while there; while I’ve read and heard a lot from the American perspective about slavery and its aftermath, I confess I hadn’t given much thought to the African side of the equation. Goree Island helped me to understand that a little more.

In the evening, I got to see the Senegal-Mozambique football match, a qualifier for the African Cup of Nations. The Lions of Senegal won, 2-0, with Mozambique making an own goal in the first half. It was great to be in the National Stadium, to see the differences and the similarities between a match in Dakar and a match in Prague, and to feel the energy in the ‘kotel’ when the Senegal team scored a goal.

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