Wait, What’d I Miss?

January 7, 2011

So, I flew all the way to Africa and didn’t see a giraffe? I thought there were giraffes in Africa that fed on the trees above them, walking gracefully to a background soundtrack of African drumming?

And the monkeys? Where were they? Africa is supposed to be full of monkeys that swing from tree to tree. And the really old and wise ones talk, walk with a cane and give advice to the other animals in the jungle.

I missed the lions too apparently. And they are supposed to be the “kings of the jungle.” Hmph. They need to get on their job b/c I didn’t see a single one welcome me to the massive jungle that is Africa.

And all those roads and cars? What was that about? I thought Africa was supposed to be a barren desert land, with people riding around on camels in search of water. Only to be tricked by those cool mirage thingys they show in the movies. Yes, desert and sand……lots of mounds of sparkly sand for as far as the eyes can see.

Oh, and I forgot the children!! What about the naked children? You know the ones with a dirty diaper and distended stomach that don’t even blink as flies crawl in and out of their huge puppy-dog eyes? If I pledge $5 I can feed them for 20 years, remember? Where were they?

The sad thing is, there is someone reading this that is wondering the same thing. At work when I told people I was going to Ghana, people would respond, “Man that’s really cool, I’ve always wanted to do a Safari.” *blank stare*

I encourage each and every person who reads this to plan a trip to a country in Africa if for no other reason than dispelling the absolutely ridiculous picture that American media has painted of a continent that is more vast and diverse than North America will ever be. Of course everything I mentioned above (except Rafikki) exists to some capacity in Africa somewhere. But characterizing the entire continent of Africa as destitute, uneducated and ugly is as twisted as characterizing America as rich, intelligent and strikingly attractive. Rich people constitute a single-digit minority of Americans but the media makes us seem like this land of milk and honey. Which in comparison to some third-world countries, we are.

But I saw so much milk and honey in Ghana. The country was rich in culture and a pride I’ve never seen in America. Many families there had paid servants – butlers and drivers and cooks. Yes, like in real life. The fashion there was so dope that I wish I had known ahead of time so I could have bought more stuff. Everywhere I went, people laid out a figurative red carpet in the form of top-shelf liquor, amazing food, huge welcoming smiles and an open invitation to come back whenever I wanted.

Ghana is definitely one of the culturally richest countries I’ve been to and I have never in my life felt more welcome in any other place. I may have missed the African drum soundtrack that I hear whenever Africa is mentioned on TV, and I may not have seen one wild animal (except those cute little Baby Shrek goats – adorable) but what I did see was a land of true milk and honey that I hope one day will be properly reflected in mainstream culture.

In the meantime, I encourage you to take your own trip and see it for yourself. You’ll be surprised at what you don’t see.

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  • Reply Idunnu January 8, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Thanks so much Tracey for posting this. It irritated the HELL out of me when people asked such dumb @$$ questions. "Did i live in a hut?" Of course I did. I also had a pet lion that guarded my hut for me…..smdh! Life in the 2 countries I've lived in Africa (Nigeria and South Africa) have been the easiest I've ever lived. I actually have a nanny! And in Nigeria this christmas, we had a driver take us everywhere. And the fashion! Well, you said so yourself. Its on point! Africa is open to influences from across the world, so we are ahead of America in so many things (fashion as well as technology, gadgets, cars. etc). If I could bring my parents here, I would consider not moving back to the States. Life is Africa is GOOD!

  • Reply Anonymous January 27, 2011 at 4:09 am

    Great words! Yes, Africa is NOT what they think.

  • Reply Davida Selby June 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Finally!!! An accurate description of my country! Thank you Tracey. Everytime i take friends back to Ghana with me, they are always surprised with the lack of elephants, tigers and bears roaming the streets 🙂 I've been trying to explain to people for years, the girls in Ghana are not only chic and stylish, but they also know how to sew their own clothes. Don't even get me started on our maids, butlers and drivers!
    I wish more people took time out to learn about and visit Africa!

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