So I heard about this Nigerian tour group called NaijaTreks from my friend and co-member of the Wanderlust club, Yejide!Aparently they organize trips to different scenic sites in Nigeria, and there was one scheduled for the 4th of July to Badagry! How exciting!
By the way, Yejide is brain behind NaijaNomads, and if you love traveling you should totally subscribe to her site! They’re on Instagram and Twitter with the same name as well. Check em out, especially on Instagram!
Now, I’d never been to Badagry, and my dreams to conquer Kilimanjaro in June with the Truppr team were cut short by my really bum knee. Sigh #OldPeopleProblems So I said I would come along for this one, and after booking tickets to and from Lagos and paying the N8000 fee, I started packing! I’ll be honest, I think I packed the morning of the trip, and in my normal style, I dashed to the airport and was the last person to board. Would have been swell just that my knee gave me hell the entire flight!
To be honest, the weekend spent in Lagos was literally spent in traffic. I met up with ace developer and friend Samson somewhere on the Island as soon as I got in, and after we put in some good hours working and grabbing lunch, it was off to the bestie’s in Ojodu, which I didn’t get to till close to midnight. Sigh. Lagos isn’t working (argue with your inner witness biko). I can’t live here!
Next morning we set out to the rendezvous point near Marina House. Got there about 6.45am, settled in and the bus set off like 30 minutes later. Long story short, we didn’t get to Badagry before noon, simply because the roads are horrible, a living death trap, and there was construction going on without any alternative routes. Sigh.
Once we got there though, the fun began! And the picture taking started!! I’ll spend the rest of this in photos if you don’t mind..
Built in 1863!! Really cooool!
Slave coast – Benin republic and Nigeria Gold Coast – Ghana Ivory Coast – Cote D’Ivoire
Out of every 10 slaves, Nigeria and Benin Republic brought 6.
My mother said her father always said, “there is the thing that the oyibo man did to Africa which was/is bad, but there is the thing which Africans did to Africa which was/is worse”
Muzzle, for human beings. Sigh.
Slave auction… For fear of mutiny, families were always separated, sent to different countries.
Announcements for auction… Negroes for sale… Sigh
All sorts of clasps, including ankle clasps, and the big padlock was for the exceptionally naughty slaves…to padlock their mouths.
Note that the horse is the first prize…ranking higher than the mulatto girl… negroes weren’t really considered as prizes back then.
Wow… Ready for a bit more?
No first or business class flights for these ones, the slaves were transported by ship, taking up the lower deck, having to sleep one on top of the other. The sick or dying/dead were simply cast overboard. #HumansToHumans
This is a really deep drinking pot, filled once a day. Slaves, bound hand and foot, would struggle to get here and drink at the same time. The edges of the pot were jagged enough to mean that sometimes they were drinking water and blood from their cut skin.
Errant slaves were punished in different ways, sometimes by setting dogs on them while bound and unable to flee/defend themselves.
No extra words needed.
By this time I’d just about had it with the history class. I decided to wander off on my own, and discovered like a lot of things in Nigeria, the management of this place is piss poor at best, shameful at worst. Dang!! Everywhere else this place would be a protected site, secure, maintained, etc. But no… it must look like rubbish. Because Nigeria. SMH.
Of course… I’m sure it’s the slaves who threw the stones that broke these windows so they’ve been left as a memorial…
No one has thought to repaint this? Or fix the piping problem that caused it? Since 1863? Really? Really?
Just so you see I’m not just whining…
Anyway, rejoined the group and we set off for the next spot.
Of the 40 slave cells in this enclosure, 2 have been preserved by the Lagos State Government for tourism purposes, while the rest are occupied by people. 70% of them are direct descendants of Alhaji Seriki Faremi Williams Abass.
A barracoon was like a holding loft where the slaves were kept waiting for the ships to take them.
This broom is over 170 years old and was one of the items the slavers would give to the African chiefs as currency for the slaves. 40 slaves to one small gun or umbrella 10 slaves to one bottle of gin or ceramic bowl 100 slaves to one big cannon gun Na wa!!
This gin bottle dates back to the 1800’s… don’t remember what date we were told…
That’s Yejide and my royal excitedness!! Behind us are more of the items used as currency during the slave trade era…
This is where Chief SWA was buried when he died in June 1919… he had 128 wives and 144 children. His last child died in 1987…
Yup, I had to take a closer look at his (SWA’s) final resting place. Interestingly, his names are derived from his slavers (which was common at the time). He was orginally known as ‘Ifaremilekun’; he was from Ogun state.
Well, built in 1847. Incredible stuff! Did I mention that each slave cell housed 40 slaves? They would sleep standing up cos there was no room to lie down.
Ah! How could I forget this well? Evil, evil well. It wasn’t the oyibo guys who did this o! It was chiefs and local slavers to their brethren!
This well? Apparently it had been ‘jazzed’ (voodoo, witchcraft, whatever else you want to call it) so that the slaves who drank from it would forget their homelands and not pine for home.
It was said that from this ‘point of no return’, slaves had no hope of ever getting back home. They were either shipped off, or if unsold, were killed and used for rituals because the slavers didn’t want them returning home and telling.
And then, it was time for the beach!! Now I’d worn leggings all morning cos it was a little chilly but by now the sun had come out so we had to bring the legs out! Yes!!
I think I climbed everything possible!!
Beautiful… water is everything…
Getting ready to push off…
Once we got to the beach, I had to do this!! Right before a giant wave washed it away!! SMH!
The beach was so much fun!! We played games, I made a video, and then guess what, I climbed a tree!!
I climbed a tree!! I know, I’m crazy… but I climbed it with a rope!! Didn’t get to the point of plucking a coconut but I was high enough, considering it was my first time ever of doing this!
I made a video even!
Oh yes, I made another video, not a very nice one though.
The beach was filthy!! Lord Jesus I haven’t seen a dirtier beach in my entire life! Nylons, animal dung, rotten food, yuck, yuck, yuck!
Selfie time!! Blessing time! This was on the way to Topo Beach… I just love water…
The boat driver decided to show off his skills on our ride back to shore… This is how fast we were going!
I was the official DJ on the ride back to town, thanks to my Bose travel speakers and playlist on my itouch. Turn up!! It made the long drive back a little more bearable, and thankfully the traffic wasn’t as bad.
Now, I had a truly incredible day!! Met so many lovely people, had lots of laughs, and it was a truly fantastic day!
Next morning however, I discovered someone had taken $100 out of my purse. Meaning that the trip had now cost me return tickets and local transportation, cost of entry, cost of refreshments, and an extra $100. Shame. Didn’t ruin my memories, but I will probably think twice before I join another tour.