Wednesday, April 15, 2009

T.I.A - This Is Africa

I've read somewhere, and been told, that there is something special about Africa - something different. Africa gets into your bones somehow and you can become addicted to it. Maybe it's the mystery that comes along with travelling here; a sense of the unknown. Or maybe it's the people and their welcoming culture. It could be the landscape and wildlife. Maybe instead it's the fact that Africa is such an enigma.

It should be a tourist hotspot, should be rich off natural resources, and the list goes on. Instead the continent is full of corruption, exploitation, marginalization, and that list goes on. It makes the allure of Africa appealing on different levels. Africa is like a drug. And I'm hooked.

Everyone's pegged me as an Africa-addict. They say they can easily recognize their kind - those who arrive in Africa and always return, or stay forever. As opposed to those who visit and never return.

Those are the two types of Africa-bound travellers, and it's easier than you would think to see the divide. So I've extended my visit. I've noticed already when I walk by myself, or I'm in the market, I can speak Zulu with the locals, and I'm starting to really fit in. I'll be spending more than a week longer than I had planned.

My chicken pox were still too bad to go to Kosi Bay with the other girls, so I ended up driving with Josh to Richards Bay to do some shopping for the HIV support group. It was interesting to see more of South Africa, especially a city, where the subtle racism evident in St. Lucia wasn't easily observed. We saw a billboard that read "Real Men Don't Rape", and another promoting the 'ABCs of AIDS' - Abstinence, Be faithful, Condomize.

The girls lost their key to one of their cars in Kosi Bay so I ended up driving up with our relief manager Anna to meet them and bring them back. On the way, we almost hit a dog, a cat, some cows, and people carrying their water cannisters home after work (it gets dark around 5:30 here). Such are the dangers of African night-driving.

Until Next Time,
-Alanna the Africa Addict

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