Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Stolen Children of Guinea Bissau, West Africa - The Journey home - It's a Wrap

 Through tears, the old grandfather looked directly at me and said, “Thank God! One of our daughters has come home.” He explained how happy he was that one of the “lost ones” has come home. “You should feel proud,” he said. “Don’t ever feel ashamed of what has happened to you because you have a home here.”  Unknown author
I am home now and I am forever changed. Somehow there's a sense of relief in knowing where you come from. I have made new friends in a new homeland and I know I will continue helping where I can.

Thank you to my readers and to all who made this trip possible in whatever role you played - there are far too many of you to name.  Just know that I am grateful.

I was asked at my picture preview party last week to name 3 adjectives or descriptive words about how I felt before the trip and how I feel after returning.

Before my trip to Africa I felt apprehensive, extremely excited and I felt a sense of gut wrenching terror all at the same time!

The apprehension stemmed from my fear of the unknown. This being my first trip to Africa, I had no idea what to expect or what I would find (especially in Guinea Bissau) as there was not much positive information available.

the children of Djati 2012

The extreme excitement was due to the joy I felt about the new possibilities we could bring in the form of educational opportunity to the children of the tiny remote village of Djati. I believe education and especially education of girls can be a path out of poverty.

Gut wrenching terror, well maybe I was being a bit over dramatic, but I was pretty nervous about the possibility of catching some awful disease (primarily malaria) or succumbing to a drastic case of traveler's diarrhea which would require that I be air lifted out.
What I actually experienced was the spirit, generosity and honesty of the African people. I had heard stories that African Americans were not liked by Africans but what I found was that we share a common history and that the African people have also suffered greatly due to millions of its people who were captured and exported to build the Americas. In West Africa alone between 1300 and 1900 almost 1/3 of its population was enslaved.  The exportation of twenty million slaves during the trans Atlantic slave trade has contributed the most to the present situation in Africa and also led to its colonization by Europe.   The continent has been permanently weakened and the wide-ranging effects of its diminished cultural and economic growth are still evident today - some 4 centuries later. The "true" history of slavery should be required study in all schools.

At our core, we are all the same. We strive for a good life, live for the ones we love and walk through life on the same fragile feet. We all want peace and happiness for ourselves and the world in which we live.  In the end, we all come home to what matters to us and everything between us and that understanding is just white noise, unimportant.
So, I leave you with these words

Go out in this world and create — make something brilliant, whether it be a piece of art or a book or music or a wonderful new invention or a world-changing business or whatever it is you do in the world.

Remember, You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you (Anonymous)

Peace and Blessings

***If you have not read the 10-day journey, you can click back from here and see all the posts

 The Journey begins again. So stay tuned


Toni said...

Beautifully said. A class Act all the way.

Alicia said...

I have also traced my roots back to the Fulani people of Guinea Bissau. I would love to visit, but I don't have the means too. I thank you sooooo much for this blog and I'm glad you were able to return home.

Peace and love, sis!

devon said...

Thank you and please continue to follow the journey. Even if you can't go there you may still be able to lend your support. Stay tuned!