AKWAABA: "Year of Return, Ghana 2019"
Photo by Sonia Roberts
“Year of Return, Ghana 2019”
A Photo Blog: Yoga in Ghana, 2003
2019 is a landmark year. It’s been 400 years since the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the United States. 1619 is widely recognized as the start of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade where millions of Africans were kidnapped and brought to America as free labor.
In November of 2003, I had the opportunity to travel with Krishna Kaur and the International Association of Black Yoga Teachers to Ghana. It was called Yoga in Ghana: “A Celebration of Health and Human Spirit.”
We started in Accra, the capital of Ghana. Well, actually we started with a layover in Amsterdam. While there, we walked the city, tried to not get run over by a bicycle rider and of course we had to check out a “Coffeeshop.”
The first night we stayed at the Marina Hotel in Dodowa. In the morning, we participated in an all day Yoga Retreat: “Acceptance, Forgiveness and Ascension.”
Then we returned to Accra and checked into Crystal Palm Hotel. The next day we visited Memorial Park, Freedom and Justice and Coco Beach in Accra where we had a “Coming Home” Ceremony with Reverend Sam.
After breakfast the next day we visited Mapong for a guided tour on scientific research into plant medicine for holistic healing. Then we visited the Akonedi Shrine at Larteh for interaction with Traditional Priests and Priestesses on psychic healing.
From Accra, we traveled to Northern Ghana, a ten hour bus ride to Tamale where we stayed at the Gariba Lodge. At that time, Tamale was the fastest growing town, the “Dagomba” people. Tama means shea nuts, where you will find lots of shea butter.
We met and interacted with the spiritual community of Tamale. Presented gifts to the children of the village/school while exchanging ideas and customs with our brothers and sisters.
Visiting Charity Early Childhood Development Center, a Pre-K School in Tamale.
Huts/homes in Tamale.
Visiting a Chief and Elders in local village of Tamale.
From Tamale we traveled to Kumasi, Ghana’s cultural heartbeat. We visited the Prempeh II Museum, seeing a replica of a traditional Chief’s Palace, visited local villages in Kumasi, and the Manhyia Palace Museum situated on the grounds of the King of the Ashanti Palace. We had a one day conference on Yoga with the Kumasi community.
Enjoying one of Ghana’s finest…"Fufu."
Preparing for the King's entrance.
Me at Assase Pa, The Earth is Good Eatery.
From Kumasi, we traveled to Elmina and stayed at the Elmina Beach Resort. We visited Elmina Castle (slave dungeon) to have a guided tour of the first and largest forts and castles, built by the Portuguese in 1482 and used during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
The Cell of No Return, The Cell Where No Man Lives.
Canon at Elmina.
Female slave dungeon.
Looking out a narrow window my Ancestors were taken through. Shackled, taken out into a boat and onto a slave ship, to an unknown world.
Continued to the tragic ancient slave route to visit the Cape Coast Castle (slave dungeon). Visited the Ndoku Nsuo (Slave River) to pay homage to our departed ancestors and to visit the graves of two former enslaved Africans whose final resting places are also located at Assin Manso.
Cape Coast Dungeon.
Male Slave Dungeon.
Door of No Return... Taking Africans through this door to an unknown world if they survived in the dungeon. Millions did not survive the final journey.
Ancestral River Park… The walk to Slave River. “Last Bath” where slaves were last bathed before sold.
A visit to Kakum National Park for a walk through the serene rainforest and to learn about its many medicinal properties. Experienced the exciting Canopy Walkway suspended over 100 feet from the forest floor.
The Monument where Dr Kwame Nkrumah Rests.
Krishna and Me before leaving Ghana.
“A-go” - lend me your ear.
“A-me” - I am listening.