We have all heard many kinds of stories about Africa. But to the wakening mind of humanity, with its struggles of perfection, production, and conquering, there is no understanding her magic until one engages in her rich innocence through personal experience, off the beaten path. And not by going to see how one can change Africa, but by being embraced by the sweetness of her people—those who expect nothing, embrace everything, and emanate a tolerance for others who are unlike them that is so foreign to our modern, western ways of being.
I am in love with Africa. Africa changed me. I’ve traveled to other developing nations, but it’s hard to describe how differently Africa burns within my heart. It’s more than the honoring of community and family over progress that all developing nations seem to have at their heartbeat. It’s more than the appreciation one receives when traveling anywhere to be of service to others, which I’ve been fortunate to have been doing now for several years. To me, Africa sends a call deep into my cellular memory—like a call home. She awakens a dormant gene, seeded millions of years ago, that reminds me that I am a piece, a connected part, of all humankind. And witnessing a race, a culture, a people, that resembles the color of the earth, who are so at home on the earth—as if their limbs are extensions of the trees and shrubs—reminds me of my own connection to nature and my true essence.
I am in love with Africa. She holds an innate innocence that has been so misunderstood and exploited, even by her own people. But that’s really not so surprising. Humankind—in every country and on every continent—is made up of those who will sell themselves in order to survive, as well as those who will trust in the devil in order to thrive. I saw a documentary recently about the plight of the Masai tribe in Kenya, who “sold” most of their land for a song to the British during colonization. A wealthy white landowner, whose family “legally” purchased land from the Masai three generations ago, claimed on camera, “If the people do not know any better how to make the land produce wealth, like I do, then they don’t deserve to have the land.” See, I know some of you reading this will agree with that statement. And, like me, some won’t. It is interesting to note that anthropologists and ecologists now agree that the nomadic life of the Masai and their grazing cattle was the key to the ecological balance of thousands of acres of vegetation and millions of animals that are now dying off in devastatingly high numbers. This, of course, ultimately affects the very businesses created from the land, like safari and tourism. But progress does not make time for understanding this side of life; instead, its mantra is, “We’ll fix it later if we need to.”
I am in love with Africa. What I see when I visit her is a wealth we westerners know little about—we who have grown complacent with our lives of convenience and restless in our pursuit of more. Africa is full of survivors. It is full of ingenuity and entrepreneurism. And contrary to most people’s ideas, she is full of the hardest working, most grateful people I’ve ever met. These are people who do not want to be given anything. They only wish to feed their families and develop themselves by their own inner call, not to the call of those who do not understand their ways. This is the Africa I’ve come to know. And because the roots of exploitation, abuse, guilt, and intolerance run deep, Africa still suffers.
But I hold a hope for Africa. My hope is that her people will, through an increasing uplifting in humanity’s consciousness, be blessed by more of those who respect her true innate wealth and beauty. And that new partnerships of respect will form that will, over time, transform her current plight of being a nation rich in natural resource and poor in human value to being a new world that teaches the rest of us westerners how to Be.
If you are interested in experiencing Africa through my eyes, join me on my next tour. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Dance, love, smile…Spryte