Today we shook off the sleep that weighed down our eyelids and piled into the van at 5:30. It is a four hour trip to get to Cape Cost and we wanted to miss the traffic. Out the window one could see the busy vendors at work and children running around in school uniforms preparing for a long day at school. It almost felt as though I were intruding on the lives of these people. The freeway made their lives to be a display for anyone who may pass by. I caught glimpses of interactions between a mother and her children, a women sitting alone with her thoughts, people urinating in bushes and the lively conversations between children and family. Rural establishments gradually transformed into the small town of Cape Coast that clamored with noises and smells I had not yet been introduced to. In the middle of all the hassle and bustle of present day life stood the tall Lime stone walls of Cape Coast Castle, a former slave holding castle whose function is now a part of a shameful history. This historic structure is the epicenter of the life that now flourishes outside its walls. We started off with a quick history of the castle and its many inhabitants. The castle was originally constructed by the Dutch and later taken over by the British. Its walls were constructed out of stone, brick and mortor made from burnt sea shell and crushed lime stone and pieced together with the hands of the slaves that lived there. Yet nothing could adequately communicate the level of despair and anguish that was held between the walls because it is beyond the understanding of those who have not experienced it. Walking through the male dungeons, there was a musty smell that could have come from the lack of ventilation or possibly  the thick layer of defication that had built up and decomposed over time and covered with underlying bricks completely from wall to wall. The women dungeons reflected the same conditions. The dungeons were designed to hold a maximum of 1,000 slaves total, yet at the lowest quality of life. There were two punishment rooms, the one for males had a smell completely of its own, I began to be attacked by claustrophobia and the air began to become restricted in my throat. This was where slaves that misbehaved came after being beaten and left die a slow death explained our tour guide. Christianity was practiced directly above the male dungeons and it was sometimes referred to as the spectrums of heaven and hell. Ironically, these professed christians would not come to the rescue of these suffering people. The slaves would remain in these conditions for as long as three months and then pass through the door of no return, never to see their families or home again. Sadly in history, there were those who used religion to justify their actions, and there were those who stood idly by while just underneath them, God’s children were crying out for salvation and freedom from the despair of their reality. Their ears were closed to pain and their eyes were blinded by greed. Phil and I talked about how throughout history it has been shown that the Bible can be taken advantage of and read out of context. Yet with exception of the people who choose to abuse the word of God for their own worldly purposes, the church was constantly on the right side of history, fighting for human rights and eventually helping to stop the transatlantic slave trade to America in 1850. There will always be those false professors of faith, yet the overall morality of religion will prevail the test of time. One of the most despicable parts of the tour was the walk through the governors quarters. The spacious rooms had soft, natural light streaming through the many windows. One was privy to the most glorious view upon looking out those windows. I stood there watching the mesmerizing light bounce from wave to wave under a beautiful overcast sky with a wind that gently shook the palm trees. I liked to imagine that there was at least one point where the governor asked himself what was so different between himself and those he had enslaved, what gave him the unalienable right to such a lavish lifestyle? However, this is a thought that most likely never crossed his mind due to the built up entitlement over generations of inequality based on skin. In one of the upper rooms, an artist had set up many pieces of canvased art. Unlike all the other rooms in the castle, I found a sense of calm peacefulness in this space. The artwork truly spoke to me through the language of color, and showed the progression of healing and hope that people so desperately clung to. It reminded me of the plaque I had seen on the wall at the entrance of the dungeons. It was a message of apology from the chiefs of the region who acknowledged the cruelty of the actions of their ancestors and promised to never repeat the atrocity of slavery within their peoples. Today the town of Cape Coast lives not only with a heavy history but also a legacy of healing, bringing people together from different nations and races, educating them through past sorrows and uniting them in resolve not to tolerate such injustices.