Travel can be described as people moving between geographical locations by foot, bicycle, automobile, train, boat, bus, airplane, ship or other means, with or without luggage, and can be one-way or round-trip. Travel can be comprised of short sojourns between sequential actions. The purpose of travel may vary, whether for recreation, research, volunteering, business, or mission trips, yet the motives may include relaxation, discovery and exploration, immersion into the local culture, and building relationships.
I recently travelled to Dakar, Senegal with the purpose of visiting the Museum of Black Civilizations, IFAN Museum of African Arts, Goree Island, and any other landmark or important piece of history. Along the way, I met several people who made my stay in Senegal fun and enjoyable. These people are native Senegalese, and some are comprised of the fourth largest ethnic group in Senegal the Jola (Diola) and speaks Wolof. The Senegalese are beautiful people who are very friendly, caring, and lovely people. After my return home I keep in contact with my newly adopted Senegalese family Abdoulaye, Mariama, Aminata, and Demba, just to name a few.
Each person was special, Abdoulaye is a young man who is a newlywed (6mos) very friendly and spoke to me instantaneously. He is an inquisitive person who wanted to know more about the US. He also offered to accompanied me shopping, which was a fun and enjoyable experience to have someone with you at the markets who is local to Senegal and can help you navigate through Dakar. Mariama is a beautiful young woman who told Abdoulaye where to take me to buy textiles, we spoke most everyday about fashion, hair, and Dakar. Aminata is another beautiful young woman who first helped me when I arrived at the airport, because I wanted to ensure the fare the taxi was quoting was fair. I spoke to her most days about various subjects in English. Demba is a very intelligent young man who is full of life and working towards his Master’s Degree. He speaks French, English, Bambara, Spanish, and Wolof.
While at the Museum of Black Civilizations I was approached by a news reporter from Vienna and her camera crew, she asked if she could interview me and I accepted. She was fascinated that I had come so far to see the Museum of Black Civilizations and other important landmarks in and around Dakar. She asked me many questions such as:
Reporter: What do you think about the Museum of Black Civilizations?
Me: It’s wonderful the world has a museum dedicated to honoring the contributions of the African continent and the diaspora. The current exhibits in the museum are: Cradle of Mankind, Contributions of Africa to Science and Technology, the History of Metallurgy in Africa, Lines of Continuity, Continental African Civilizations, the Appropriations of the Abrahamic Religions, the Globalization of Negritude, Africa Now: The Contemporary Visual Expressions, The Dialog of Masks, The Fabrics of our Society, and Black Women and Knowledge Production. The concept of this museum is genius and all people should visit the museum to learn about Africa and its diaspora’s history.
Reporter: Do you think all the looted items held throughout the world should come back the various countries in Africa?
Me: I believe all the looted items should return to Africa and should be held in museums such as this, so all Africans can learn about their history. Those stolen items are a part of the narrative and culture of Africa. A continent with great and mighty warriors, civilizations, and a wealth of knowledge. These items are sitting in museums in France, Britain, and many other countries out of reach and prevue of those whose ancestors created these items. I encourage all the diaspora (whose families lived in bondage) to go to the Museum of Black Civilizations to learn about the history of the continent and understand their history does not begin with slavery.
My trip was wonderful, and I went back home with a new-found respect for mother Africa and learned quite a bit about myself. If you have never travelled by yourself, whether domestically or internationally (which I have done multiple times) you learn a lot about yourself being in the company of yourself without the distraction of a travel companion. Don’t mistake my words as preference to travel solo, but rather every now and again take a trip by yourself. Enjoy your travels and enjoy life, you only get one chance at it.
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