My African Safari
Africa the rainbow continent. To outsiders like me in Asia or other parts of the world we think it is all about Jungle Safari or information we hear from the media like civil unrest, dictatorship, corruption, kidnappings, etc. This is a perception that most outsiders have built on basis of their ignorance about the continent.
I got a chance to see for myself what Africa looks like . My job brought me an opportunity to visit 2 countries in West Africa – Nigeria, a large and the most vibrant country in Africa which is full of life and Ghana, a hidden paradise. When my Boss asked me one morning if I would like to go on an assignment in Africa, I took one of the fastest decision in my whole life and accepted the proposal within seconds of being asked never knowing that this decision would help me in getting one of the best experience in my life.
So, when I landed in Nigeria through a transit flight via Kenya. The flight from Mumbai to Nairobi was like any regular flight full of tired travelers, however the atmosphere completely changed when I boarded the flight from Nairobi to Lagos. Suddenly I landed up among a group of young highly energetic co-passengers. It was a short flight and I landed at Lagos airport. On landing we were received by some private security contractors arranged by the company. They escorted us from the Airport to our Hotel. I was little scared that things might not be safe here, so, we had security persons accompanying us throughout, however I was also glad at the same time as back home in India one have to be very powerful politically or affluent economically to have security guards escorting them. Although little jittery but I was feeling special too as one of the security person was a lady so it was like having Charlie’s Angels as my security staff.
After a night of mixed feelings, reality of life came calling me next day, as I had to start my assignment, I thought I will be accompanied by some gun toting security person, but there was no more private security only a private vehicle. I embarked on my journey and landed up in Bank Branches, whom I was supposed to visit as part of my assignment. I met the staff and the Branch Managers. Everyone was friendly, in fact nobody made me feel that I was a Foreigner. I went to local version of American KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and had my meal with unknown people, but no one bothered or made me feel that I was a foreigner. I even went to a local handicraft market and everyone provided a fair price for my buying. To my surprise in one of the Bank Branches that I visited , one of the lady officer was watching a popular Indian Family Drama with English subtitles. Maybe being an Indian person, they thought I am one among them. People everywhere were friendly and welcoming. They were ready to accept foreigners without making them feel that they are outsiders but rather accept them as one among them and help in getting assimilated to the African society.
Till the time I did not visit Africa I could not relate the term “The Rainbow Continent” but, when I landed there, I realized that it is a truly colourful continent. People wear vibrant colours particularly in ethnic wears. Women wear colourful head gears which makes them look more beautiful. Ladies are pretty in Africa and their colourful ensemble makes them prettiest, men with their bold colour attires looks more confident and headstrong.
Africa is full of dreams, the working population is extremely young maybe the youngest across all the seven continents. This young generation brings energy and hope, as they have dreams to fulfill and which in turns gets the world going .
So, Africa is far beyond the Jungle Safaris and information published in media. It is a continent of energy, hope and dreams. It is the continent of happy, friendly and welcoming people. It is the future of the world.