The trip to Ghana for the Year of Return during the 2019 African Panafest was an amazing experience for our tour group lead by Yvette and Ekourba Yeboah. It was unique for me to witness my seven family members participate in a meaningful and joyous ceremony honoring their African heritage. Their faces were full of wonder returning to the Motherland of Africa and learning about their ancestors, culture and history. We had an opportunity to visit the slave trade British Cape Coast Castle/dungeons and the Portuguese Elmina Castle/dungeons. It was an eye opening experience to the horrors the slaves had to endure and the extreme cruelty of the slave trade business. A significant part of the dungeons was the Door of No Return established 400 years ago when the first slave ships left Africa and the slaves never returned. The opposite side of the door now reads, The Door of Return. Another event which stood out was the slave’s Last Bath in the river before they were taken to the dungeons. Watching Yvette sign the manifest of return on the wall was a highlight.
I enjoyed seeing the smiles on my family’s faces when they were greeted by the Ghanaian people throughout the trip, especially by the Chiefs and Mother Queens at the festival. Everyone was respectful, courteous and extremely nice. I have a wonderful impression of Ghana and its friendly people. Visiting the markets, the Gapbuster school, Botanical Gardens, walking above the jungles on suspension bridges, learning to do Kente weavings and going to a music festival were additional highlights. We were comfortable in our tour bus, had nice accommodations and we enjoyed the food at the various restaurants and hotels. I want to thank Yvette and Ekourba for making this trip a trip of a lifetime. All your efforts were greatly appreciated and I wish the best for Gapbuster as you bridge the gap to learning and create a bridge between America and Ghana.