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Transformative Travel: Ghana

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The Ultimate Ritual to “Let It Go”In Ghana there is a story that the name Jamaica is actually a bastardized version of the word Jaminica (from the Fon language), which means “let’s move on” or “let it go.” Why? Over 75 percent of Jamaica’s population is of African descent, people who were shipped to Jamaica during the height of the slave trade. Then and today, for Africans and their descendants, there remains a great deal of controversy and unease over the role that many tribes played in enslaving their own countrymen; many West Africans — the enslaved or the enslavers — would prefer to forget their past and move on. Nowhere in Ghana do you get a sense of “Jaminica” more than at a small, remote village on the Ghana-Togo border known as Gnani Witch Camp, where people are exiled after being accused of practicing witchcraft.I went to Gnani with a group of my guests, as part of my own quest to reach out to some of the most off-the-beaten-track and contentious human settlements in West Africa. We wanted to gain a greater understanding of the line where voodoo ends and witchcraft begins. Voodoo — or Vodun, as …

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