I believe that anyone living in a developed country who did not travel to Africa is kind of ignorant about Africa. But no need to worry, I am here to enlighten you 😛 and share what else is to this continent than poverty, famine, underdevelopment, colonies and lack of access to clean water.
Africa is so different and interesting and amazing. I only want to come on vacation here from now. The idea of visiting Eiffel Tours seems so plain and boring in comparison.
First weekend we visited Goree Island which was the center of slave trade for West Africa. We were told that about 20 million slaves passed through this island before they were embarked to be shipped to the Americas. Details about this visit in another post (with photos!). Yet, related to this trip, I realized what is to me the most impressive thing about the people here – the black race does not seem to have any kind of anger, grudge, negative emotions, drive for revenge towards the white race. Just think for a moment how would the feelings be, how would the general public speech would be if things were the other way around…. And I noticed this kind of attitude also outside the slavery topic. People here have a simplicity, a calm, a serenity, a lack of drive for fighting, wining, conquering – they are like the nice people in whose company we always genuinely seek to be.
Another example in the same direction comes from the fact that the population is 95% Muslim. Even with this, not only that they are very tolerant and inclusive with the Christians, but they are actually celebrating all Christian holidays – Easter, Christmas, even the Assumption Day on 15th of August. The approach towards different religions is simply working differently than where I come from. It is not a question of tolerating or accepting, it simply is not a thing that matters, it is not something that is even asked. This again in line with the impression that people here do not have the urge to prove that one thing is better than another thing, to engage in competition.
For me these two examples just take the concepts of forgiveness and religious tolerance at a whole new level.
And my other big impression is about time – my favorite! My first thoughts about how time is perceived and handled here is that time is infinite, that there is so much of it, that it’s very fluid. Now I actually believe that time simply does not exist, at least not in the way we look at it in Europe. It’s not something important, it is not the major thing to measure, it is not something we work against, it is not something you have or lose. I cannot describe and emphasize well enough the magic of living without time pressure. The experience of slow living also generated inside me many many questions about the developed world habits- about the sense, purpose and cost of all the efficiency, effectiveness, standards, benchmarking, processes, deadlines and other such lovely things… 🙂
All the aspects above have of course also down-sides. But I am sure everyone can draw those conclusions alone… or not, and just stay for a while with this perspective instead.
This was quite philosophical (which I hope does not translate in not interesting :P), I will bring more facts and story-telling and photos in the next ones.