Thursday, February 08, 2007

Essay by Talitha

One North American’s African Journey

It feels as though it was only yesterday that I was embarking on a glorious and yet scary adventure. To move to another country, not just any country but a third world country, is like a fairytale or something out of a storybook to most people, it may seem. The destination, Angola, Africa. Though most have not heard of this wild and exotic sounding country it does indeed exist, and I traveled there.

It was not an idea in my mind that brought me to this strange new world, but a calling, a calling that my parents listened to with their spiritually tuned ears and open hearts. If God said we were to go to Africa, then by golly, or rather by the grace of God, we would. It was not an easy task this moving to Africa; instead it was a difficult journey, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually.

If there was ever a person who said it would be easy going to a strange new land, they definitely did not have a family with six members. To get four children to agree with an idea that not only seems crazy to them, but to you and everyone else, is not an easy task for a parent. It turned out that the hardest to convince would in fact be myself. This though does not account for the actuality that I am back in Canada now while my family is still roughing it in Africa; it does not even come close.

When in Africa I felt as though for the very first time in my life I belonged, though this may seem strange to some, it is entirely true. I found the youth of Namibe, Angola, where I lived, more accepting of me than any other youth that I had encountered in my entire childhood. No longer was I bullied for my style, or lack thereof, nor for the way that I try to do the best that I can in school, notoriously known as being a goody-two-shoes. Yes, there were trials and tough times, such as the time that our power went out for fourteen days, but we as a family learnt to be grateful for what we had and also to accept and cope with the way things are in Angola.

So, you may ask me, “why on earth did you leave Africa if you were so suited to the ‘African ways’ and loved it so much?” The answer may unfortunately make me sound like a goody-two-shoes once again. In actual reality, the answer is that the only reason for my coming back to Canada was to finish high school and possibly go for some post-secondary education. Am I crazy, you may ask, after all why would someone want to leave the place where they essentially feel that they belong? I can only say that I often ask myself the same question, which begs to be answered the next probable question, will I go back? The answer to this question is probably quite obvious. Of course I will go back, if of course it is in my power to do so!

I would like to conclude these mad ravings of a crazy “American-African” by saying that I one-hundred percent encourage North Americans, teens and adults alike, to go and experience some other place beyond this “North American shelter” that we have all created for ourselves. I fully believe that my journey to Africa, and the year that I spent living there, has changed entirely my life forever. The old Talitha will never be the same person again!

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