Back to Africa…Yes!
In my 60th year, I set out for Africa, the continent that transformed my life when I first sojourned there thirty years before. I'd waited half a lifetime to return, and could scarcely believe that the waiting...the exile...was finally over.
Yes! It's true. I'll be 60 at the end of December.
Yes! It's true. Africa did transform and shape my life.
Yes! It's true. I lived and worked in Africa for five years in the 1970s, in Ghana and Botswana, and left in 1977.
I've traveled to the East, to the West, to the South...but never to the North...of Africa. I traveled alone.
But, one is never truly alone in Africa, place of home, family of friendly hearts, and a culture of connection.
Yes! It's true. I have waited over 30 years (31, if you've done the math) to return...and that works out to roughly half a lifetime. Now there is the time, the money, the traveling companion, and the portable village to support this "Return and fetch it"...this SANKOFA.
Yes! It's true. I have felt a sense of exile. My parents, on their third visit to see me in Africa (once in Ghana and twice in Botswana) asked me to come home. After five years, they missed me. They understood and valued the work I was doing. They understood and valued my strong connection to the place, the people, the culture. But, they felt I was sabotaging my future...that I needed to look to my future.
I heeded my parents plea, and I did move the project the villagers and I were working on to a place of sustainable independence so I could transfer my role. I heeded my parents plea, and I did come home.
I came home to a life of exile...and I have made the deepest and richest use of these thirty years that I know how. But in all the places I have been since: the Midwest, the Southwest, California...I have never belonged as fully, never felt so fully accepted and enjoyed, never felt loved so completely, as in my time in Africa. It is a strong heart home.
And now, it is my time to return and fetch it, weaving the old threads into a new tapestry.
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