Feelings from Exile: Bring Back the Riches of Africa to My Community
I cannot wrap my head around the fact that my time here in Africa is over. It has been four months since my departure from America and I have learned, grown and really been able to be a sponge to the culture, experiences and way of living here. However, I cannot help but feel a myriad of different emotions now that I am returning from my “self-imposed exile” and re-entering life as a Black American. After a long time trying to process my emotions, I came up with five multifaceted points I am experiencing now that I am about to depart:
Words cannot even explain how complete I feel since coming to Africa. Being here, I have seen nothing but the celebration and embracement of blackness and it feels DAMN good! I have been able to conquer every fear and insecurity I had about being young, gifted and black in western culture by taking a road less traveled and experiencing Africa through my own lenses. The country of Rwanda and Uganda is full of strong and loving people and I hope to replicate that same resilience and love in my own life.
It is crazy how I feel happy to finally feel whole but I cannot help but to also feel depressed. Learning about the atrocities committed here in Rwanda was emotionally draining. What was even more depressing was seeing the impact of colonization and imperialism on Africa that still remain through the ill-intentions of the international community, ethnic division in other countries based on the ingrained idea of whiteness and the resources that was robbed from Africa. I also realize that once my experience here in Africa is over, I have to go back to a country where blackness is a crime and associated with so many negative connotations.
I find it depressing that some African-Americans have reached a place so low that their first experiences off of American land is not the continent of their genesis but instead the continent that systematically exploited us as a group. However in this depression, I find inspiration that God gave me the opportunity to go to Africa and not just bring back valuable information to my own community but also reeducate the world about Africa. I am inspired to explore more African countries and be an ambassador and advocate of the mother continent. Though I have seen only Uganda and Rwanda, I felt so much collectivism, love and strength from these beautiful people – MY BEAUTIFUL AFRICAN PEOPLE.
In my previous blogs, I talk about how I became a machine in America – I was churning out more than I was actually putting in myself and it held me hostage. However, Africa has re-centered me on really being available for life and love. Africa has also centered me on my purpose and being a device to praise God by using the talents and gifts he bestowed me with to be a service to others.
5. Brave & Fearless.
I have realized that the only thing keeping me from being the best version of me is the prison I create in my mind. I am 20 years old young black man and I went on the other side of the world. I had reluctance from family and friends, but I refuse to spend my life living in fear of what is outside the four wall prison America has created. I love my country and I am thankful for the opportunities she has provided me with but it is a world out there waiting for me to explore and absorb. Taking this leap by myself for myself has made me braver and more fearless.
All in all, my experience here in Africa has given me so much confidence. I am so thankful that Imana gave me the ability to re-center myself and I am ready to take on the world. For my brothers and sisters harboring a fear of something, know one thing: “everything you want is on the other side of fear.”