Most of the passion projects of my life usually take something like a decade to be realized from the subconscious burst of that initial interest. One of it was my dream to visit Africa. As my approximately 2 years across West Africa has many-many learning, key takeaways and billions of wonderful moments to discuss in a post, I am going to start with how this all idea built up in me from scratch to realization. What point of my life I had impact, or verbalized my interests towards this beautiful, bold, ‘black continent’?
I remember clearly I was around 7 years old and was watching a movie with my parents on our first black and white Tv. To be more precised it was an epic comedy called: The Gods Must Be Crazy. I linked the trailer to you guys but please do watch it if you can. It is hilarious.
So even if this movie is a bit disfigured for the cause of making it hilarious, was among my first touch-points with Africa. It weirdly kind of formed a sympathy with the land and its people in me in my early ages of life. It was more like a gut feeling that the life must be so -positively- different over that mysterious place and it would fit me better. I knew, I felt that, I was called by Africa. Through that ridiculous movie, right? I know this sounds a bit silly. Although I am highly grateful to God/universe/life to make me watch that night. I originate this strong feeling that I was instantly attached to Africans in that moment. That stupid description/characterization of the black continent actually helped me kick starting the process of growing so much love for it. Although I knew almost nothing about realities that time, nor even geography or the shape of the earth. :D
That tiny thing was my actual initial positive impression about the continent what took 2 decades to form a shape in an actual visit. After this movie I do not remember any impact or stimulus coming towards me turning my attention towards Africa, for a bit more then a decade and a half. Although my positive first impressions didn’t leave me. It was just sleeping a little…
Next stop when I was at the university, in master course, somewhere around age 24-25. I had a class called career planning. The final assignment was to carry out a mid term career plan for ourselves. I remember clearly what I wrote down. At that time, I had even less idea about what is my purpose in life, then right now. I was highly confused. Even though, I was already so far in to higher education, or fancy self-knowledge training and all scientific extracurricular activities, plus was working for 4 years at a multinational company… OMG, I just realized that I was still so lost.. That in my very own career plan I barely had anything to write as actual plan… After analyzing skills, and interests and my personality and environment and so many more factors, I just formulated 3 goals extremely vaguely. I think I was the kind of person and I am still who likes to just follow the flow.My plan was something unspecific like this: 1. Something about marketing, or market researching, 2. social impact/entrepreneurship, 3. Travelling and Africa.
I still wonder why Africa showed up there, thou?!? I seriously do not know, just guessing… somehow I never felt I can really live my life in this environment of workaholism, what we tend to have in western civilization… Although I love my wonderful Hungary and won’t exchange it for anything, but I always felt I am not exactly where I was meant to be. Really not sure about how this is happened as I don’t remember any connection more then that movie, and this moment of articulating it as a goal…
After that, a few years of silence about my dream to visit the land of the hidden treasures came as I got distracted buy volunteering as local leader of AIESEC.
Although that suddenly brought me even closer to the next step, where I had actually communicated over email with someone who is African to promote some projects. Can you imagine I kind of never really talked to any African until this moment at age 26. So how could this be possible that even without knowing much about the culture, the people I was feeling that I belong to their lands? I am from a very small town in Hungary, so it is not very common to see anyone other then 100% Hungarians around especially not Africans. Therefor it is really still a huge mystery to me…
So finally at age 27 when I finished university, AIESEC, and my job at the multinational company, I was a bit lost again in life, and kinda depressed but previously I had won a scholarship what sponsored my plane ticket for a short study travel to Africa. All I needed just to find the exact place, project and time. That is how I finally made my courage to actually apply for a Global Volunteer project. I made some interviews via skype with Ethiopia, South Africa, Burkina Faso (with a girl later on I met in real life in Togo – the world is soooo small if you are an AIESECer actually :D ) and with Ivory Coast too. They actually accepted me there but my sponsor refused to let me go to a country what is -still unfortunately- on the ‘blacklist’ of Hungary. It was 3 years after their violent revolution already at that time in 2014, but this notice was on our government website that no Hungarian is advised to enter as it is still dangerous.
Anyway after a few more random and super boring months, and more interviews, paper work, passport making, vaccination, visa… Oh yeah and fighting against everyone I know who said it is dangerous and I should not go… Especially because Ebola outbreak had just happened exactly that period of time…but on 21st august 2014 I entered to Ghana for a 2 months teaching project. I fall in love immediately with the country, and later on during a regional conference in October, I just absolutely, unapologetically truly gave my heart to West Africa.
You might expected someone building interest through reading the politics, or a lot about history of the Sub-Saharan Africa, or falling in love with the clothes, music, dance, hairstyles, fashion… But no, not these things what had lead me towards living almost 2 years in Africa. It was somehow I guess that nature I idealized from that silly movie, which showed that people there live in kind of harmony with themselves, their peers and the nature. I think that is what must made me work hard to break a lot of stereotypes of my friends, family to get finally support to make it happen. That made me spend tons of money, and energy, time. I even needed to break up with my boyfriend before my returning to Benin Republic… But this is an other day’s story, so stay tuned. 😅
What I learned is that sometimes you can have this strong gut feeling that you belong to somewhere but you do not know why, as you have never been that place before. I don’t know if it is normal among people but that happened to me, so I am guessing it is not only me had expreienced this. I know my story, how this passion grew inside me and what actual stages I remember this huge love inside me happened to appear in different ages of my life and grow giant actually wasn’t that of a big story today in this post.
Although it means a lot for me because I needed to be able to transform my life around this feeling of attraction. I am actually about to return again, for the 2nd time this year in 2018 for 2 months to Ivory Coast. Actually before 2018 I never been in this country even though that was my first match to go in my entire life 😅
And now I am renting a flat there, and trying to start business, and dating an Ivorian man too. I can say that I have a plan now. I wanna live my life there, and also partly in Hungary of course.. 🙈 But what I mean is that when you feel somehow attracted, try to let it flow, because it is actually maybe the universe’s/God’s plan. I followed my calling, and I am the happiest in my life since I first entered to Africa.