Sunday, 16 October 2016

Guest post: But, why would you want to go to Africa?

After months of waiting whilst I get the shot for the blog, of being trained to not touch any food in a restaurant before the obligatory food photos are taken and of practically being Written by a Girl's creative director, I finally asked my best friend and travel companion, Rosie, to write a post of her own and she finally said yes! Enjoy...

Since working on a University project in Zambia while at University, I’ve been completed fascinated with the diverse, captivating continent that is Africa.

Zambia was like no where I’d ever been before and I was immediately struck by the openness and friendliness of the people I met there. I’ve since been lucky enough to travel in 4 countries on the continent, and hope to visit many more.

For countless reasons, travelling here is unlike travelling anywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, I’ve also found that it’s the only place I’ve felt I had to justify travelling to. When I tell people this is my favourite place to travel, I’m usually met with a mixture of confusion and concern - “But, why would you want to go there? Isn’t it dangerous?”

Despite being a continent that is 6 times larger than Europe, Africa’s 54 countries are often lumped together into one. Mention ‘Africa’ in the west, and the images that spring to most people’s minds would be malnourished children, desolate landscapes and war.

It would be easy to blame the western media for these negative stereotypes - and much of this criticism would be justified. We rarely hear positive news from this part of the world and it makes me genuinely sad that many people might miss out on travelling here simply because of what they’ve seen on TV or read in the paper. They’ll be missing out on experiencing completely different cultures to their own.

They’ll miss out on the beautiful, take-your-breath-away scenery and the amazing wildlife (yes, I loved the Lion King as a child and yes, I’m a total cliche). Above all, though, they’ll miss out on meeting some of the most friendly, welcoming, funny, caring people on the planet.

That’s not to say that there isn’t problems here - it would be naive to deny that. Travelling here will test you and you’ll see things that put into perspective your own background and experiences. However, there’s a famous quote that says something like ‘when you see bad things happening in the world, look for the helpers’.

And that’s exactly what you’ll find here - people who are devoting their lives to helping their communities. People who are striving to make a difference for no other reason than the inherent need to help others. I think if I had to pick one reason to try and explain why I feel so content here, this sense of community and drive to always do better would be it.

Travelling through Africa is an experience that will change and shape you. It isn’t always easy - but it’s always worth it.

If you enjoyed reading this post and want to hear more from Rosie, please leave a comment down below or maybe tweet @RosieWillan and I'll pinch her on the arm until she agrees...

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1 comment:

  1. The media and its people portray and show to the world what they want to be shown. The elkite and teh western part get all the recognition and fame while those who are actually doing something are not considered.


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