The time for summing up has definitely come. The good, the bad and the in-between. The wrapping up of my African life. I feel a need for closure. I feel that, in order to start something new, I must inevitably say goodbye to the thing that ends. Up till now, I've been living in a post-Gabon bubble. Not so much looking ahead of me, I kept glancing back, reliving the last days in Africa, almost feeling the sunrays on my neck. I continued writing this blog. I struggled to keep every single memory. But these past few days something changed. I feel I'm ready to look ahead now, confident I cannot lose what has become an integral part of me. Things are to be gained, not lost. And so, with my suntan fading a little bit more every single day, I try to move on. Yes, the time for summing up has definitely come. Here we go then - the lists.
ONE: Among other things, I have learned...
- to be around African people and feel comfortable
- to be around kids and enjoy myself more than I had ever thought possible
- to accept even though I can't understand
- what racism is and why you shouldn't stare
- to make a pizza
- to teach kids
- to wait, to look for alternative solutions, to anticipate all kinds of problems
- the interminable, stunning, deserted beaches of Gabon, its nature, its sun
- the Arc En Ciel kids, so much
- our friends
- our flat and the view from the terrace
- not having to worry about what to wear
- having clothes made to measure with the African pagne
- eating out at the cheap maquis... oh, the poisson grillé!
- travelling into the brousse
- writing this blog
- the constant sweating
- being called la white in the street
- malaria (and other diseases) threat
- not ever being able to make plans until the very last minute
- big huge ugly cockroaches
- public administration
- traffic in Libreville
My friends have shown me that it's possible to live on the move and that you can be happy everywhere, as long as the ones you love are with you. Travelling opened me to the ultimate way of experiencing nature. The African people, and especially the kids, taught me how happy you can be with very little. My job made me work on my creativity and improvising skills. Learning French made new things possible.
I managed to do something which I considered beyond my possibilities. Not giving up on Gabon when things got difficult was the best decision I could've made. And I got something priceless in return: a new facet of me, of whose existence I had no idea. The African me, the black Kasia.
This amazing portrait is the work of Fran - again, thanks so much!