Musings of Africa Pt. 1: Coming Home?
I recently returned from a week long missions trip to Africa. While there, I had numerous soul stretching experiences that I'm going to be sharing over the next several weeks. Here's the first:
I wondered from the first moments of knowing I would be going to Africa, if it would feel like returning home. I know that can sound silly, because well I'm American, right? But I wondered nonetheless. When we first arrived and were walking through the village, children would call out at the group of us ‘Mzungu! Hiii mzungu!’ Mzungu is what they call white people, which obviously I'm not. The native people knew that too, but they didn't know what I was. I would constantly catch them staring me to the back of my skull and had no idea why they were being so uncomfortably awkward. In Africa, I'm told, most people's physical features can help you tell what country they are from. Ugandans differ in build and physical features from Ghanians, Congolese, and even Kenyans. The conclusion I came to with much discussion amongst my team is that I was breaking the database for the people of Uganda. There was no point of reference for this brown skinned, tall woman, with my facial features and hair style. What the crap was I? Coming to Africa I had the same question. Would I see myself in these people? Would a part of me come home to myself in this place? Not really. It wasn't the homecoming I imagined. Visiting Africa was like meeting my lively, vivacious great aunt twice removed for the first time. She had so much to show me, so much to tell me. Africa was GORGEOUS- so green, rolling hills, stark red earth peeking through. Her people were wonders to me- infinitely gracious and resilient, innovative and vibrant. Africa left me wanting to know more- about her history, how did she get this way, and where did she see herself going in the future. I still wonder, what parts of Africa are in me, and if visiting those parts would leave a different impression. And while my ancestors do hail from somewhere on that great continent, home for me continues to find its meaning in the faces I missed the most while away. #MusingsOfAfrica