Friday, September 19, 2008

Week 7: Shipwrecks, Slavery, Shopping & Soccer

Sept 13 – 19; 08

We had a relatively quiet weekend with a lazy day at home on Saturday and a return trip to Shipwreck beach on Sunday. We’d had such a short time there last weekend (due to the amount of time it took for us to find it) so we thought we’d go back & have a proper day of it.

We got there in good time (despite having to wait for an hour for our car – long story that doesn’t need repeating). We had made a picnic for the day & walked as far along the beach we could, where we stopped & ate our lunch. The weather was great – much sunnier than the previous weekend – which is what we had been hoping for. We explored around the cliffs behind the beach, but unfortunately didn’t find any fossils!

It was another nice week of school, with Wednesday off due to a national holiday, – Hero’s day. We asked around but it seemed as if nothing was planned for the day in the city – no parades or anything like that. So instead we organized a bus for the day & went out to visit the slavery museum. This is located quite close to the Southern edge of Luanda & is actually a church right on the coast. As a museum it was a bit of a zero – it had no artifacts to speak off apart from some large cooking pots (or at least that’s what we think they were) and a few canons. The inside had photocopied pictures from books or maybe other museums on the state of slavery in Africa. The church wasn’t used as a fort or holding place for slaves, but every slave shipped from Luanda (& it was one of the biggest slave exporters in Africa) was taken to the church just before being loaded onto the slaves ships, so they could be baptized! I’m not sure whether it was to ensure that any slaves who died at sea would go to heaven, or whether it was important that they were “Christians” when they arrived at the other end, I don’t know. The hypocrisy stinks regardless. Despite not having “anything” to put in the museum, I think it is good that they have kept the church standing as a memory of what happened on the site.

After the slave museum we went back to Benfica – the local souvenir market. Bill bought another couple of masks, but we both were able to take photos to give you an idea of what it is like. There are lots of paintings for sale, as well as the wooden carvings & masks & some Angolan national football shirts. Also – the more unpleasant side – ivory & cat skins! At least there were no live monkeys this time!

The trip home from the market was the typical weekend traffic jam around this area – what should have been a 15 minute trip maximum took well over twice that long – and our driver took a shortcut as well!

Friday afternoon the school took part in the international day of peace celebrations by playing football (some UN organization’s idea). As I am in charge of yearbook, both Bill & I took our cameras into school to get some photos of the event.

Friday evening we were busy packing for another trip to the national park.
Video of Shipwreck Beach - please be patient while it loads.

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