Once again…I’m back. Back in the US, and gradually getting back into the swing of things. YOWLI and going to Senegal was, in one word, breath-taking! And yes, I literally had to slow down sometimes at the enormity of the things I learnt, at the people I met, at the emotion of it all, and just at the sheer wonder of God’s work.
I’m gonna be pretty busy with my senior year, my thesis (I am sooooo excited for that), future plans etc, but…I think its important that I share some of what I was privileged to learn with all of you – about globalisation, trade liberalisation, gender equality, sexual reproductive health etc . Because seriously, once you get the information….everything seems to make more sense, and you can understand the ENORMITY of our responsibilities towards our continent. So…I’m thinking, either articles…or webcasts (its about time I had my own ‘talk show’ what with the way the keep going on up here lol)…we’ll see what we can work out, but I definitely won’t keep you guys out of the equation.
Ok, so I’m back. And everything feels…mettalic. Mettalic in that its…unreal? Or just a mirage of the real. I miss the clean, fresh air of Goree Island…the smell of salt and fish mixed up in the air. I miss the sand…the soft, surprisingly clean, sand. I miss the sound of children’s laughter…playing around…barefoot and shirtless sometimes, without a care in the world. I miss wading in the waters of the Atlantic…that feels cold when you’re wading in, but warm and inviting once you immerse yourself in its wonder. I miss feeling closer to Ghana…literally, with the distance, the feeling of estrangement seems to multiply. And probably, what I miss the most is talking to people who have similar views like me on many issues. And gosh, what inspiring people I met!!!!!!!! (See video entitled ‘Natural Living’ about our first couple of days in Senegal and on Goree Island)
Now lets be realistic…there were some people who I simply didn’t get. But hey, they brought about new dimensions in my understanding of people. And patience….my sister Annatu was the first to teach me about patience…and it keeps paying off, a thousand-fold lol. And one thing that stood out to me was how much one person can affect another…if it is allowed. At some times there was soooo much negativity, it was literally draining. I had to step out of those situations at least 3 times just to compose myself. Talk about exchanging energy!!!!! Another thing I learnt was how to keep myself composed, in check, positive etc when the exact opposite is prevalent in your surroundings…breathing exercises (Thanks Mariama Williams). And also how to give other people the space and time to express themselves.
One other thing that stood out to me, was the importance and reality of connections. When I say everything is connected, I’m not trying to be philosophical. Its the truth! The essential fibre of our existence. Now I have connections with at least 60 young women and men from across Africa and the Diaspora – Brazil, Suriname, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Congo, South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Namibia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Egypt, Somalia, UK, Senegal, Ghana, the Gambia, Uganda, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Cameroun, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, USA. And the mind-boggling thing is that we realized we all have the same problems….so why is it so hard to find and implement solutions??
One of the problems or issues we studied under Accountability Tracking was Water Access….and I have a very interesting tale to tell on that one….so the next article (or one of the next) is gonna be on Water Connections…and believe me, you don’t want to miss it!! It was literally, an eye-opening revelation…and I believe it will be for you too. Alors, stay tuned….check in from time to time. Until then…don’t waste water.lol
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.