I am asked all the time what it was like to live in Africa. Not a day goes by that I don’t ache to one day live there again, explore it again, perhaps the west, or south, which surprises me, as life was not easy and I was happy to go when the time came. But Africa seduces you, claims you, even if unaware. Something about living there gets into your cells, takes hold, settles, then tugs. I watched this with my husband after his very difficult three years in a small Kenyan village. When he finally came home, he came home different, and I knew the moment I saw him he’d left something behind that we’d have to one day go and find.
Living in Africa, you are so close to the root–it is the root of humanity–you go home in a way. You feel free, alive, awake, connected to the source. But as an ex-patriot, (those born and raised there have their own claim and story), you are also like an outlaw, a pioneer, outside of time and constraint. You are the “other,” the one’s who’s different, who doesn’t really belong, so you start to question if even the laws need apply to you. I saw so many expats living on the edge, grabbing the reins and feeling they were at the abyss. You live like you could never do back home and there is a danger of walking too far over that edge and of exploiting the very thing that has pulled you in, which allows you to truly test your morality and ethicality. You get to learn who you really are and what you are capable of, for good or bad.
And you do it all against the backdrop of great beauty and people who will teach you the true meaning of joy and suffering, if you let them.