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“They call it Africa, we call it home”

“They call it Africa we call it home”             

from @visiterlafrique 

This quote woke me up. It was like a seed that manifested into a trip project that I have been delaying, avoiding, finding excuses for…   

 I left at 7 years old Cotonou (Benin). I move to London for a year and a half then grew up in Paris until adulthood hit lol.

I came back to Benin at only 20 years old, after 13 years out of the country for the first time! It was more a family trip with my dad and sister, saying hello to relatives only, staying indoors. I Did not learn a lot about my country, but I did learn about my family. I felt quite ashamed to not know my own country, its history, its museum, my language…          

So, after this trip, I promised myself I will come back and explore on my own terms.

I also wanted to see my only grant parent left more often. I Had to convince my African Dad to let me go on my own. It was not easy, but he was able to realize by himself that he had few leverages to stop a 24-year-old woman who is financially independent to travel.

I was determined to start the year 2018  with the sun in Africa no matter what. 

In 2018 I took a one-month break and spend 15 days solo trip focus on Cotonou only. The purpose was to overcome my doubts and fears step by step. I was determined to start the year 2018 with the sun in Africa no matter what. And I spend the other half of the month in South Africa, between Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Let’s keep in mind that parents want you to be safe 1st and not wander in the unknown. Their narrative is full of fear because they know that Africa is not your usual playground. Be understanding with them, but still make Africa your playground is important, Africa is part of your Identity.

So I did go by myself on that trip in 2018 but on my dad’s terms. For Benin, he was able to support me in the planning when he realized that I was determined to do it with or without his approval.

The Focus was to reconnect, and I felt the need to deep inside me. I am thankful I did it, it fed my soul and opened my eyes… It was my first solo step in my country of origin. I did not do everything I have planned, but it was enough for me. I took things slowly and focus on the main city Cotonou.

I was not that confident, and I had a lack of knowledge and guidance back then. But I promise myself I will come back and do more, learn more…

Can’t wait to share this journey with you guys!!!
Children of the diaspora, if you feel a calling, do it…                 

Do not let what people say, media, western society blindside you.
Go and see the motherland with your own eyes!
I am going back, every year if possible; for sure! In my ancestor’s names!

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