a trip to West Africa may not appear to be the most exciting fun trip of a lifetime.
However, understanding why one is taking the trip - helps to put it all in prospective
for the individuals born of African blood and heritage.
It is a heart
warming and humbling experience while colorful, fun-filled, and adventurous!
country is one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the world primarily
Black. This diversity brings an assortment of various cuisines - some of the best
in the culinary arena, colorful dress, style, colors, patterns and jewelry - a
designers paradise and among the warmest people in the world, artistic (musical
and otherwise), athletic, imaginative and humorous. People who value friendships
and kinship more than time or money. Cities, Castles, and dungeons bear the wear/tear/tales
and folklore of the African Heritage trails to The Americas.
Many centuries of history, culture and traditions will fill your head and heart
with a special kind of excitement! For African descendants it is truly the "Motherland".
The clay roads of Georgia, the Gullah land of the Carolinas, the cascading falls
and blue green waters of the Caribbean, to the Carnival celebrations in South
and Central America - we are HOME.
month group leader, Mary Rizor carried a group of family, friends, and acquaintances
- several weeks retracing history and heritage in the "Motherland". For several
in the group this was their second trip to Africa - the first being to South Africa,
several years ago, I had the pleasure of planning the adventure for both trips.
The overall response of those making the second journey is one of "awe"- the dramatic
difference between these two countries -South Africa and West Africa. Yet there
like here -at home - USA, there is so much we all had in common. You see that
is what the adventure is all about - feeling sometimes as if you have returned
the first time visitor or the non African American the feeling may be different
- but yes - you realize that this place is magical in many ways! You too began
to feel at home. The mystery, intrigue, and mythical nature of the Country and
culture engulf you. Ha-ha
group was overwhelmed with the beauty - yet the - anguish in the story of Goree
Island! Though a story told many time - " to be there and see where mothers, babies
and families were separated, chained, sold and ship into slavery - to such far
a way places as the Americas . under such adverse conditions .." . "I am still
trying to digest what I saw and came to realize." are just a few of the responses
received from clients who returned. The sighing of some of the largest and oldest
baobab trees in the world and the mystery of who or what dwells within, the bump
and grind of the visits to the market places, the dark dungeons and some times
morbid details of life with in those walls and doors of no return. You are there!
After several days of history and seeing the beauty in the artistic rendering
of the locals in music, food crafts, jewelry and dress - you are off to the coast
of the Atlantic Ocean (the other side), the salt flats @ Pink Lakes and the pursuit
of the Kinte' family and your African ROOTS - through out The Gambia. Driving
across country you see and experience what real life is like in the country and
ceremonies, drumming, trekking n the heat, visit to schools and orphanages, African
celebrations and yes a little bit of West Africa Safari. For those of the group
who safari in South Africa - it is a bit different - but we saw antelopes, monkeys,
giraffe, crocodiles (petted one), and mammoth turtles. The uniquely different
baobab tree groves. A different look for the wet and dry season. A beauty!
and tours to various points in West Africa are available year round. There are
numerous festival and activities to keep you entertained while you learn the lessons
of history or enjoy the soothing music to your ears or just shop until you drop
for authentic - tailor made clothes!
Well this is just a bit about a summer
vacation in the Motherland by my clients. I am off to East Africa in July 2011
and am looking forward to escort you to an East Africa adventure in Kenya and
Tanzania. I am seeking a group of adventure seeking, animal loving, and cultural
explorers for the wild!