According to my countdown meter, my family and I will be making our day-long journey to the Motherland in exactly 10 days, 15 hours, 5 minutes and 15…14…13 seconds.
Yes, I am super excited about experiencing new people, places and cultures. No, I cannot wait to be reunited with my sisterbae, Erin, who is studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa this semester. Yes, we will be doing a live reenactment of one of the final scenes from The Color Purple — the one when Nettie and Celie run across the field towards one another and do the sister handclap until sunset.
And no, I do not care to hear any negative, simple-minded, unwarranted opinions about Africa. That includes the excessive amount of side eyes I receive — mostly from my fellow melanin folk — when I tell people I’m going to Africa. Here’s an example of what I mean:
Africa hater: “So…you’re going to Africa?” *gives side-eye*
Me: “Yeah, my sister is studying abroad there for a semester, so my family and I are going to go visit her.”
Africa hater: *gives more side-eye* “Hmm… What made her wanna go to Africa?? Does she like it?”
Me (slightly annoyed): “She did a lot of research and had quite a few friends that studied abroad there. They loved it and had nothing but great things to say about it. She says it’s beautiful there and is having the time of her life.”
Africa hater: “Oh really? I wouldn’t think there’s really much to do over there.”
Me (very annoyed): “Well, you should visit one day!” *internally rolls eyes*
Africa hater: “Hmm… I’ll have to pray on Africa.” *chuckles* “I hope y’all got all your shots. Don’t be coming back with no Ebola.”
Me: -________- *fake chuckles*
Not every conversation goes the exact same way, but I know shade when I hear it. And the shade for Africa is far too real.
First off. Y’all do realize Africa is an entire continent, right? Which means it is a huge piece of land comprised of multiple different countries with many different people of different cultures who speak different languages. However, I know a lot of us think Africa is just one gigantic, disease-infested, third-world country — yes, I said country (sigh) — inhabited by people who wear little to no clothing, fight tigers and lions for a living, and live in huts. And I also know approximately 99% of the U.S. has been psyched into thinking we can catch Ebola anywhere in Africa, rather than just three countries in one part of the entire continent (and South Africa isn’t one of them, in case you’re wondering). That’s like someone being scared to step foot in the entire continent of North America because there was an outbreak of SARS in one part of Canada. Chile, bye.
But enough of that. I am beyond excited to go out and see some world. My sister already has a full itinerary of activities planned from our arrival to departure. And I am ready to partake in all of it.
Of course, I’ll be capturing, documenting and sharing all of my fabulous experiences there. So stay tuned! Ten days left ’til Cape Town!!