24 August 2010

The Africa Experience

Like many a foreigner who has lived in present day Africa, this experience leaves us with contradictory emotions.
On the one hand, we can't be leaving here fast enough. We are eager to leave behind the many inconveniences of living in tropical West-Africa: the hours of bumpy roads, the penetrating, nausiating smells, the struggle to provide in ones basic needs, the moisture and mold, the insects and diseases, the insecurity...
Yet on the other hand, we already knows that if the day comes that we will be actually leaving we will be heartbroken and forever long for what we have left. There are things here in Africa I think one can find nowhere else. The fish and seafood and tropical fruits will never taste the same. Never again will we have such devoted personell (if you don't count Jean-Pierre).
On top of that we have come to love African fabrics, their colors and designs who brighten markets and roads and who are different in every country. The possibility of having clothes tailor made for no cost at all. The deserted beaches who seem to be waiting there for nobody but me. The way they approach children. The way they dress up for occasions, making a company party feel like the gala event of the year.

If we ever leave, we will be leaving so much behind. Will we be gettinig as much in return?