Last year, I shared why I was purchasing a property in Ghana (in the middle of a pandemic). I also shared a little bit about the process. I am pleased to say, everything is going well and I look forward to the completion of the project.
WHY I DID NOT CANCEL 2020 AND DECIDED TO TRAVEL BACK TO AFRICA THREE TIMES WITHIN THE LAST SIX WEEKS OF THE YEAR
The virus impacted all of our lives to varying degrees last year. Because much of my life centers around Africa travel, I was severely impacted most of 2020. When the borders opened in most African countries, I decided that I would not throw away travel in 2020. After doing extensive due diligence about the protocols for each country I was planning to visit, I embarked upon three trips (Tanzania 🇹🇿, Côte d’Ivoire 🇨🇮 and Ghana 🇬🇭 ).
All of this travel did not come without its share of anxiety. I was not a fan of the nasal swab Covid test. It seemed rather invasive but there was no getting around it. I pushed past my fears, got the test (four times) and had the time of my life!
Some people expressed concern about traveling internationally and thought that it was the same as traveling domestically. The reality is that everyone on my international flights were required to show proof of a negative Covid test within 72 hours of their departure. While this did not eliminate the risk of someone being on the plane with Covid, it did considerably reduce the risk (especially when compared to the local grocery store which has NO testing requirements). Most domestic flights did not require any testing prior to flying and was a genuine cause for concern. Again, I was traveling internationally and that was a major difference. Additionally, I was not traveling to Covid hotspots. While there was some debate about under reporting in some of the countries I was visiting. There was also a debate about over reporting in the US. Needless to say, the health impact in these three countries was minimal in comparison to the US, Europe and parts of South America. Many people credit the quick decision to close the borders as the reason for the lower impact in most of Africa.
POST TRIP REFLECTIONS
After those three trips, I am so glad I did not cancel 2020. As you will see in the pics and videos, there is so much I experienced in each country. From sharing my children’s books to writing scenes about how misinformed many people are about the continent. I knew the last two months of 2020 was the time for me to explore again. It wasn’t for everyone else but I knew that window was open and I’m glad I embraced the moment.
IN THE PICS AND VIDEOS I’M SHARING
You will see...
1. The short video entitled “AFRICA?!!!” I wrote this on the plane coming back from Tanzania 🇹🇿, recorded it in the DMV 🇺🇸 and edited it in Côte d’Ivoire 🇨🇮
2. Children in Tanzania 🇹🇿 reading my children’s book about Ghana 🇬🇭. You would be amazed how many Africans don’t visit other African countries because they are discouraged from doing so because of half information and colonization.
3. Dolphin 🐬 searching and watching in Zanzibar
4. The in person update from inside of a model of my condo that’s being built.
5. Videos from Tanzania 🇹🇿 & Côte d’Ivoire 🇨🇮
6. Withdrawing money from an ATM in Kumasi, Ghana 🇬🇭
7. More miscellaneous pics and videos
The biggest lesson for me was truly recognizing the diversity in Africa. It’s not a country. It’s a continent with more than 50 countries. It truly has some of the most beautiful beaches, landscapes and cuisines in the world. It has so many hidden treasures. While the challenges we are familiar with are real in many parts, there are equally as many safe and “prosperous and developed” parts.
When I took my first trip to Ghana in 2018, I was culturally immature. I would use terms like “third world” without truly understanding what made a so-called “first world” country “first world”. Needless to say, I see things differently now and appreciate the people, the culture and the differences of each country I visited.
THIS DIDN’T HAPPEN IN SIX TRIPS OVER TWO YEARS
I didn’t get scammed. I didn’t suffer from some of the horror stories that seem to garner so much attention on social media when it comes to “Africa”. I prepared and planned. I did my homework. I didn’t drink the tap water. I stayed in more secure locations. I observed everything I ate carefully. While anything can happen at any time, I don’t assume the worst or even expect it. Truth be told, I felt safer in Africa than I do America 🤔.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Most importantly, I had a great time! I enjoyed the extreme hospitality of the Ivorians. I devoured the delicious food in Côte d’Ivoire 🇨🇮. Abidjan is something to experience! I brought home so many spices from Zanzibar that customs thought I was smuggling something 😤 😆. I was intrigued by the Afro-Arab influence in Tanzania 🇹🇿(East Africa) and surprised by the French and British colonial impact in Ghana 🇬🇭 and Côte d’Ivoire 🇨🇮 (West Africa). The amazing rooftop nightlife views in Ghana were nothing short of amazing and rivaled anything in the US.
The people were very nice in EVERY country I visited. I firmly believe it’s because of how I treated them. I did not come with an uppity arrogance or looking down on them. I honored and respected each person and their culture. I did not come as a savior. I came as a student. I was patient when needed. As a result, they went above and beyond for me. I still talk to them daily on WhatsApp.
If I listened to others who had a negative perspective, I would have missed out on the most transformative two years of my life. I’m so glad I saw for myself and didn’t allow someone else’s negative experience to keep me away.
Sierra Leone 🇸🇱
South Africa 🇿🇦
@jaycameronofficial on IG