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A Slave's Journey

I see all of the other Africans around me. I believe there are about 609 of us, even though this boat is only meant to hold around 300 people. As I look around, I see mainly African males between the ages of twenty and thirty years old. These men were highly sought after by the white people because they are the strongest and may have the greatest chances of surviving this five to twelve week voyage.

I hear the other Africans around me as they moan, groan, and murmur in languages I don’t understand. We were all from different cultures and tribes, so I couldn’t tell what anyone was saying. I hear the white men thumping above me, as they kept us below decks of the ship.

I taste the nameless food they shove down my throat as I refuse to eat. Being on this ship has made me a bit depressed, and my stomach gurgles in protest at the thought of eating. But I am not alone in my choice to starve; many other Africans have willingly joined me. The white men, however, do not care how we feel, so long as we are sort of healthy, and they continue to force-feed us.

I feel the rough wood of the upper deck as the white men force us to dance like fools. They call this ‘dancing the slaves’ and it’s supposed to keep our muscles from rotting. I bite my tongue to keep from yelping out in pain as the strong whip slices through my skin. The cruel white men flog us if we don’t dance to their liking.

I smell the stench of the other Africans trapped below decks with me. We all smell nasty, due to sweat and our own waste, which we are forced to sit in. With only twenty-four inches for each of us to call our own, you can only imagine how hot and sweaty we are in this stuffy prison of a ship. The worst part is, the only way to escape the wretched, foul odor is to jump off the ship and into the blue sea.

I have been watching my family and friends being taken by the white men for many months now. In my fourteen years of living on this land I have never experienced as much sorrow or witnessed this much chaos and fear within the tribe than now. The whites, as I have taken to calling them, came often to our land. They would trade shells, brandy, musket balls and guns for Africans to use as slaves. Other times, they barge in rudely and kidnap us.

That is what happened to me. They snatched me as I was sleeping and stuffed me into a sack. I woke up far away from my tribe’s territory, surrounded by the whites and hundreds of other Africans. From that point on we marched through the long, hot hours, day after day with very little rest. We continued on like that for what had to be two or three months until we reached the coast of Africa. And as a large slave ship came into my view, sitting on the ocean’s surface like a regal king on his royal throne, I knew I would never set foot in my homeland nor see my family ever again.

Sitting here in this slave ship, I ask myself, what do the white men want with a fourteen year old African girl? My grandmother, whom I respect and admire very much, told me much of what the white men do across the seas in America. She says that they use slaves as laborers on huge plantations, where they grow tobacco to sell and make a profit off of. Those horrible, cruel Americans, treating us like ants they should step upon. I know that some of us here do wish that they would crush us; whenever they bring us up to the top deck to dance, many attempt to leap into the sea.

Well, I for one do not want to end my life here. I will not be destroyed by the horrific whites on this terrible ship. If I am to die young, I want it to be on the shores of America. I want to prove to these men that I am worthy of living, that I am strong enough and tough enough to endure whatever they may throw at me. I refuse to die a pathetic death as a weakling sitting in my own waste, that is for certain.



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Mythbuster728 said...
Dec. 15, 2010 at 9:47 pm
Very good!  I liked that you explored all five senses; it felt like we were there on the ship!  Also, I like the determined feeling at the end.
 
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