WHAT IS HARD – another Ghana memory

January 6. Day 6 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. It is a cloudy -14℃ foggy morning. Our city is pretty in hoar frost. I’m having one of my ‘hard’ days. I’ve finally got around to paying my monthly bills. December was a costly month in heat and electric utilities. I shouldn’t complain. It was a long cold month. Then I tried to read Elizabeth Smart’s little book, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept. It was hard. The language was very beautiful but I could not make any sense of it. So I gave up on it for now. I’m not good at hard. I’m ashamed. My hards are not really hard at all – not when compared to the women who had gone before me. I’m thinking of my March, 20ll visit to the Elmina Castle on the Gold Coast of Ghana. It was erected by the Portuguese in 1482 and became important port stop in the slave trade. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Here are some photos and thoughts from that visit. It’s my mental slap to remind myself to be grateful. My life is not that hard.


So here I am again, feeling quirky and somewhat sorry for myself.  Life is full of twists and quirks and mirky waters.  And I have to remember some of my mother’s words.  Do not include in your vocabulary the word, hard. Life unfolds, step by step.  And I see in my mind’s eye, a rose whose petals unfurl, one by one, in time-lapsed photography, until at the end ….a perfect blossom. 

I see in my photographer’s eye, too, the picture of the Female Slaves Dungeon.  It was at the Elmina Castle in Ghana.  The dungeon held about 150 female slaves until they were ready to be shipped across the seas.  They were held in the dungeon with just enough water and food to keep them alive and no sanitation measures.  So there they lived, 150 bodies pressed together in the closed space amid their own feces and urine.  Sometimes they were let out into the courtyard where the governor can view them from above, in his balconey.  He would choose one for his own pleasure.  And the soldiers would  clean her up before bringing her to him.  NOW THAT IS HARD. 

When I get into my quirky spells, sometimes I just have to give myself a mental slap to remind myself……When I have a job, health, a roof over my head, etc., nothing in life is hard.  There can be problems. …and solutions. There are prices to be paid.  Nothing is free.  But it is not hard.  You just have to pay up.  No free rides for anyone.

4 thoughts on “WHAT IS HARD – another Ghana memory

  1. I lost my comments resetting the password to WordPress. And I wish I could remember what I said. But thank you for sharing this beautiful piece of history

  2. I’m so sorry that you’re having a hard day and that you struggled with reading Elizabeth Smart’s book. It can be frustrating when we’re not able to understand or connect with something, but it’s important to remember that everyone has their own unique challenges and experiences.

    Your visit to the Elmina Castle is a powerful reminder of the true hardships that many people have faced and continue to face. It’s important to be grateful for what we have and to recognize that our “hards” may not be as difficult as we think when compared to the struggles of others.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for giving yourself a mental slap to remind yourself to be grateful. I hope you have a better day tomorrow.

    1. Thank you, Paul. Just experiencing physical fatigue of winter. Feels like wading through a bog or quirkmire. I have to slap myself often.

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