In the Sacred Forest, King Kpass’ reincarnates himself into an ikro tree.
Before visiting this tree, which I touch, make a “good” wish, and then drop a few coins, we visit various fetishes. They are statues of Voodoo Gods representing beliefs from fertility, to farming, to forging iron, and curing small pox. A huge tree in the center of this forest is said to be 200 years old. The guide also tells us that in Africa, they say “When an old man dies, it’s like a library burning down.” The strong oral tradition of passing on information through music and storytelling results in little being written. Not much reading going on. I guess I won’t try to market my novel in these parts!
Our final tourist trek takes us along the slave route, full of several monuments. First, we see the slave trading square, where Chi-Chi makes their deals. After the sales, the people are forced to walk around The Tree of Forgetfulness, to make them forget where they come from. Then they lead them to a large cage and staging area. The slaves are housed in a bunker type of building, to prepare them for coming conditions and get them accustomed to the way they will be chained in the ships.
A memorial represents the huge hole in the ground, where the weak, the sick, the unsold, are discarded. Often, they are still alive when thrown into the pit. If a captured person fights back, he will be chained in a squatting position. A stick in his mouth, he will be exposed the entire day to the brutal African sun, in full view of fellow slaves, to set an example.
An archway towards the sea memorializes “The Point of No Return,” decorated in symbols representing slaves in chains going into the water, and then down into the black hole of a ship, never to come home again. The African leaders may have been the ones who trade their own people, but much of the World is responsible for providing such a horrific market. Despite our beautiful hotel, pool and beach setting, we do not sleep well this night.