I know it is ridiculous to think that only our contemporary capitalist world values land. The Bedik who live on top of a mountain in the Kedougou region of Senegal claim that their ancestors lived there since Islam was introduced to the area. Although it is difficult to get water up the mountain and although they are isolated from establishments like schools and hospitals, they refuse to move. There are spiritual ties to the land because of their ancestors. As much as I would like to claim that Gorée Island acts in the same way, I had a difficult time finding the spirituality. Yes, there are opportunities to feel spirituality on a personal level: standing alone in a musty room that once held hundreds of young women or looking out of the door of no return at the seemingly endless ocean. But these moments are overshadowed with Western-style restaurants and overpriced cloth (seriously, you can buy that cloth for a quarter of the price in the market).
However, the people who live on Gorée make their livelihood off of tourism. In the true capitalist sense, who can blame them for selling a yard of fabric for the price of five? If a tourist will buy an inaccurate replica of a wooden mask, sell it to feed your family. I do not dislike the tourism of Gorée. Rather, I find it an interesting cultural phenomenon. And perhaps the island did a better job than I'm giving it credit for paying homage to all who passed through it. After all, it's July and I'm still thinking about it. It's four months later and it still makes me feel uneasy.