Chicago to Cape Coast: Connection and Healing at Ghana’s Ancient Slave Dungeons

Chicago Peace Fellow

Our initiative, Restored Hope Chicago, has recently formed a new collaboration in Cape Coast, Ghana and we are calling it, She Chose to Breathe. The current work we are doing now is supporting girls in primary schools and we also provide business training and stipends to their mothers, so that they can support their families. In my recent visit, following the impression experienced at the ancient slave dungeons, a conversation around the need for healing emerged.

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The slave dungeons along the coast of Ghana were used during the slave trade to hold slaves in captivity before they were shipped across the Atlantic. The dungeons are now part of the country’s memorial sites, which attract many tourists each year due to their historical significance. Among the tourists are the diaspora communities from the United States, whose connection to the continent and the history is deep. It is this connection that gave birth to the idea for promoting healing to both local and tourists visiting the sites.

We hope to create a healing space between the two slave dungeons, offering an opportunity for visitors to process their emotions after experiencing the overwhelming connection to the place and its memories. We plan to train local women to become yoga instructors so that they can earn a living by offering mindfulness practices to tourists and local people alike. The space will also provide other experiences such as dance, arts, healing circles and quiet areas for meditation and journaling for those wishing to do so.

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Previously the women we work with had inquired about yoga, so this initiative comes at the right time when the women are curious and want to learn. “We need to understand this Yoga” —some of the women remarked during my previous visit. This initiative will start by training 2 women on the basics of yoga, mindfulness, and breathing. The healing space can be promoted by local tour companies that work in the area. We hope people can use this place to process what they are experiencing as they follow their path. It is important for people who return to this place to release. We hope the space can allow them to feel, reconnect and most importantly, be able to release.

We plan to have the space ready by next month, August 2021. I’ll be going to Ghana next week and I am taking my children with me. For me it is a full circle, my children are the next generation, and they are supposed to be there! We want to engage both local people and tourists to heal together.

We have organized a Fundraiser this Sunday, July 11, 2021 to raise money required for creating the space. The Gala will take place at 3144 W. Carroll, Chicago 60612 from 2pm. The afternoon will include live music, small bites, and a silent auction.

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Please spread the word so that people in the area can attend. You can also support by directly buying the items we need on our amazon wish list or contribute to our PayPal account.

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