thoughts of africa.

it's been awhile since my last post {i feel like i am always saying that...}, but there's a reason. as always.

i'm currently in harare, zimbabwe, with my best friend and her sweet family. it's strange. my first time out of the country has also coincided with a trip to africa, a place that i never thought i would visit. in all honesty, i'm a bit excited that this was my first experience on my own. i didn't go to london or paris or rome. i didn't take on the beauty of another first-world country, didn't pace the streets of italy or switzerland, but went somewhere that's different. real. i ran straight into the fire {as everyone here keeps saying}. part of me, even now, can't believe i actually did it. i always thought africa was too exotic, too strange and far-fetched. i thought that life was so radically different that there was no way a born and bred california girl would ever be able to relate.

ah, yes. isn't it great when our preconceived notions are smashed to little bits and pieces? today marks my tenth day on an entirely different continent, and i must say.


sorry for the lack of embellishment. putting 'africa' into a string of sentences and jumbled up letters is proving to be one of my most difficult assignments. it's as if the paper is insatiable, it eats up my words with a ravenous, gaping mouth that always waits, ready for more. there aren't enough words to explain the poverty and the pain, the huge smiles and sweet baby faces. food prices that are sky high and yet glean so little, and the strangeness of a country whose government, quite simply, doesn't work.

africa isn't just 'the lion king' or, 'cry, the beloved country.' it's green and huge and the skies stretch for miles. the dirt pathways along the roads are packed with children and businessmen and mothers holding laundry and babies on their backs, wrapped up snug and tight. africa is a sprawling flea market and smells that make me wrinkle my nose and pirated dvd's that make you want to laugh and cry at the same time. handcarved everything, mismatched clothes and checkers games played with a few odd coke bottle tops.

it's strange to come from america and realize how blessed my family is. just because of a life lottery, i was born to parents in one of the most beautiful states in the land of the free. i have always been taught to dream, and to fight. don't have the money? get another job. want to go to college? work hard, get a scholarship. in zim, there is no opportunity in your work. there is no chance. your life is determined by your parents and your place of birth, both of which are extremely stringent. you are either white or black. rich or poor. you take the lot that you're handed and make the most of it. sell fruit in the streets, fake a disability. beg for money that will put food in your children's mouths, if just for one more night.

just this afternoon, i was watching a young girl, maybe five or six, lead her mother along the dangerous meridian of a busy road. the woman was {supposedly} blind, and they were begging for money, next to a man with cell phone airtime stuck in the papery bark of a tree branch. i asked my best friend {shannon} how people could live like this. with no hope for something better, no dream for a life beyond zimbabwe. i felt claustrophobic, almost, and my heart broke for this sweet little one, working when she should be painting pictures and laughing on the playground. shan told me, quietly, 'megs, this is their life. you don't have to hurt over it, because they aren't. this is their life, they work their job, they struggle and overcome, and they're happy. just because it's not your life, or the life that people have in the states, doesn't mean that it's not a good one.'

africa is family, pain, love, anger. it's high fences and no electricity. distrust, hard work, a lack of hope and sense of closeness. africa is abstract and ugly and beautiful and heartbreaking. it's someplace i couldn't create any expectations for, because it simply supercedes them all.

africa is.
africa, isn't that different.


  1. Wow, what an amazing post, thank you for opening my eyes! I wouldn't have the courage to go there right now, and I certainly would have the same hurt as you over people who seem to have to struggle so much. I hope you have a really amazing time and that there are more pictures to come.

  2. Beautiful post and very well-written. Thanks for giving us a fitst-hand insight on Africa. Btw Merry Christmas :)

  3. THAT was a moving post. Thank you Meghan! A fantastic read. <3


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