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Photo by Elke Schmidt, Senegal Bridge Year Program.

Ile de Gorée

Yesterday the group visited the UNESCO world heritage site of Ile de Gorée. Coming to this island is usually an experience of mixed feelings for participants, as it’s incredibly beautiful yet is a place with a horrific past. It has been said that this island was one of the main departure points for Africans forced to make the journey across the Atlantic into slavery.  Gorée is known for its “House of Slaves”, built by an Afro-French family in the late 1700s and now a site for tourists to visit and reflect on this dark chapter in humanity.

Erlene writes, “It was personally emotional for me to see what my ancestors went through. At the same time, it was very sweet when one of the vendors on the island said to me we are family, of course she wants to sell her products to me, but she knew [her message] would reach me. Another sweet moment in our hotel courtyard when my brothers said to me, “You are African” when they wanted me to share their meal. I had already eaten but took some because I wanted them to know the love from their sister. Thank you Dragons for this experience.”