A LAND THAT A GIRL KNOWS AS AFRICA
Once upon a time, there lived a little girl who dreamt of a land that was so far away, but yet so close, bought to life by her family’s stories. This was a land where animals roamed freely, the sun rose and set with the most magnificent technicolour vistas and days were echoed with children playing on the veranda eating fruits fallen from the vast orchards known to them as their gardens. This little girl knew this land as Africa.
Over the years this little girl made up stories of seeing lions, leopards, rhinos, giraffes and hippos and playing beside them. She watched wildlife documentaries avidly on TV and read National Geographic until her love for a land she had never been to just became so uncontrollable that it consumed her.
This little girl’s biggest dream in life was to visit and see the land where her heritage lay, where her parents and grandparents were lucky enough to call home for some of their life. The life they had amongst the world’s most breathtaking scenery and nature. She was immersed in the language, culture and loved the food inspired by the land. The land that they referred to as Africa.
This little girl grew up and the dream grew and grew inside her but the only thing stopping her from visiting was the story that her family had been forced out of this land by a nasty ruler who wanted all the non-natives by heritage to be removed. She saw how her family spoke of the conflict during these hard times and the pain and suffering this regime had caused to so many in her community. The atrocities in Uganda were always a painful reminder of what had happened in this beautiful land they called Africa.
As time went on, the now not so little girl, realised that this was not down to the country but the ruler who was now no more. The dream was reigniting inside her, she wanted to see East Africa more specifically for the country where her fore fathers had lived, where her grandparents raised her parents. Her passion was to travel and extended to wildlife welfare and conservation. She was fascinated by the Masai tribe and their humble existence. Ever since she saw the Masai statue at her grandparents house she was intrigued by the way of life of this community and their survival alongside wildlife and preservation of their unique values.
This girl realised that her dream was to visit and take in the culture, sights, smells, history and wildlife of East Africa, of Kenya, of Uganda and live out the dream. This girl wanted an African adventure she could write about. She was inspired by the life of Karen Blixen in Out of Africa and longed to sit contemplating balmy days with the vivid surroundings of the Kenyan Savannahs right before her.
In her head she had planned out the details of how she would visit her father’s birth place, Nairobi, speak to the locals in the few words of Swahili that she had picked up over the years, stop by and call in to visit the Rothschilds giraffes and learn of their welfare and educate herself in as much conservation work surrounding her love of rhinos and elephants. She would stop by and visit the home of Karen Blixen and relive the book in her head as she walked around in awe of the estate.
Moving away from city life, it would be time to immerse herself into the wildlife experiences on safari. Those dreams of witnessing the flora and fauna in its natural habit in the Masai Mara and Samburu National Reserves would become real. The experience of any safari would leave her in awe but this would be just that extra bit special. She would have the opportunity to delve into the culture, history and tasting the food of the land. The land that she knew as Africa.
She would then move on to pay homage to her mother’s stories of Uganda and visit Jinja, her mothers birth place and the sugar cane factory in Kakira where her grandfather had worked as a carpenter. She would retrace the route her uncles and aunties took to and from school and the places where they played amongst the lush green surroundings. The ambiance of a land that she called Africa.
The girl could finally visit the markets and try the local specialities that her family had tried to recreate back in the UK but never quite tasted the same as the authenticity was lost. She could eat the freshest of fruits from the orchards and finally try Ugali for breakfast in it’s truest form. She would take on the challenge of scoping the tastes and flavours of a land with her predominantly vegetarian diet. A gastronomic journey of a land that she called Africa.
Once she had fully immersed herself in the life of this land, she knew that a part of her would always remain there and she would long more than ever to visit again and again but that in her heart she could finally hold the place of her dreams as a reality. The reality of the land that she can call Africa.
I hope you enjoyed this tale of my dream. If you’re wondering why I’ve never fulfilled my dream travels, then that would be because they have always remained in my dreams. But, today I’m sharing them with you since being shortlisted for The Post Office Travel and Food Blogger of the Year 2018. You see the brief is to write about a once in a lifetime travel destination, and that for me is a journey through a land, a land that I have always known as Africa.
Over to you, tell me the story of your dream once in a lifetime trip.
Unfortunately, I did not win The Post Office Travel & Food Blogger 2018 but I was in the Top 10 for the category. A very proud moment and personal achievement for me. Many thanks to all those who voted and supported me. Watch this space as I have decided to go to East Africa and make my trip of a lifetime a reality.
This girl will know a land that is referred to as Africa.
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