Africa, travel diary.
As I walked through the tarmacked road, leading to the airport, I could only think of the number of hours I would stay seated in an airplane. The emotions that ran through my mind were a mixture of excitement, anticipation and of course, fear of the unknown.
I was overwhelmed with joy as I was about to cross out one item from my bucket list; visiting the African Continent. From the stories told by my grandmother, I had the best perspective of how Africa is. Beautiful people, with beautiful souls, amazing friendships and admirable cultures. Aboard the plane, I went, and shortly we took off. I could admire the beautiful Alps mountains, covered with snow, that looked like the clouds to me at first. Yeah, silly me :).
After a flight that lasted close to 9 hours, we touched down. Oh, the smell of fresh air felt heavenly. I walked to the luggage area and picked my luggage. Again, the feeling of worry engulfed me. Questions ran through my mind, “Where should I go from here? Who is coming to pick me up? How long would I wait?” I then walked to the passenger pick up section, then saw a card raised with my name written on it. I moved closer to the person with the card and received a very warm hug. So warm was that hug that I felt like I already knew that person. I had no idea who she was, haha.
That brought me to my first opinion about the African culture; accommodating climate. I came to realize afterward, that she was my cousin Rita. She immediately took my luggage, as if they were her own, carried them, while we chatted our way down towards the taxi. Past the good road, we moved towards some muddy crusty and bumpy road.
We then headed to my uncle’s house. I was welcomed by songs and dances. “How jovial are these people?”, I wondered. Then followed the introduction, where I was introduced to each of my relatives, ones that I had already heard of and others who I had no idea existed. They gave me names, in their local language, which sounded funny, especially when I tried pronouncing them.
Now the food! You could have thought that it was a buffet. I realized that they value meat in their diet. Eating is also a communal affair. We shared meals on a single plate, which are not plates, but banana leaves. We used bare hands as spoons and forks, of course after washing our hands. This gave me another perspective on African culture. They are a communal group. They value the aspect of community living. Most of their activities are shared within the community. Even the cleaning of clothes and utensils is done communally. At this time, there was a lot of talking and sharing of ideas which also helped in keeping up with each other’s affairs.
One other thing I came to realize was the fact that Africans don’t directly say no to your request. They tend to agree to anything you ask them because of fear of disappointing you. A downside to this is that you will not know the real opinion of the person you are talking to. You will also not know whether you have hurt their feelings as they will not be open to talking about it.
The last thing that is good to know before you make such a visit is that if you want to do something in a good time, plan it with an hour or two ahead. This means that if you have a plan to meet up with someone at 8:00 am, be sure that you will be late if you tell them the exact time. In such a situation, you better tell them that you will meet at 7:00 am, giving them an allowance of an hour.
Overall, I enjoyed my stay there and learned so much about the African heritage. Am looking forward to my next visit.