What's A Westerner To Do?

Debra G By Debra G, 28th Mar 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Africa>Nigeria>Abuja & Around

African American wants to explore West Africa - discouraged by Nigerians who state it is unsafe.

The Mission

As an African American, I, like millions of my counterparts, have been historically cut off from my country of origin. You all know the story: we were brought to the States as chattel, de-humanized, and sold to the highest bidder without regard to family or ethnic affiliations. And, so, like millions before me, all I knew was that as a Black person, my ancestors had been brought to the United States as slaves. That was my truth - until DNA testing became available to the public. Through DNA testing I learned that my mother's people originated from Sierra Leone, and my father's from Angola (that was a surprise). I have a strong desire to visit both countries and travel between them by land. I want to drink in as much of West Africa as I can...

Warnings From Those Who Know

I know of a Nigerian family who is traveling back home (about an hour or two north of Lagos) later this year. I thought this would be a great opportunity to travel with someone who knows the continent, and then break off from them after a day or two and explore West Africa on my own.

They were shocked at my plan...

The road are terrible, the wife told me. Kidnapping is a threat in the North, he warned. People will try to swindle you or rob you, they both warned. It's just not safe for you to travel alone - especially by land. It's not like traveling in the States. If you have to relieve yourself, you will be directed to a bush or tree. And, as soon as you speak, they will know that you are not Nigerian.


Guess I need to rethink this plan...

So What's an Old Lady With Wanderlust to Do?

I am now in a quandary. I really want to make the long trip from Angola to Sierra Leone by land. I want to stop in Nigeria and visit Lagos. I want to visit a movie theatre and see a Nollywood film.

I want to see Benin and Togo. I want to visit the grave site of W.E. B duBois in Ghana. I truly want to see how President Sirleaf has improved the infrastructure in Liberia and I want to stand on the shores of the beautiful beaches of Sierra Leone.

I've thought that perhaps I could hire a driver, but that would prevent me from mingling with the people - something that is important to me. It could also be frightfully expensive and would make me dependent upon one person for my safety and transportation.

My thinking is that if the people of these countries travel by bus or van, or even train, there is no reason for me not to use the same mode of transportation. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me. I am no better than they. I know how to be vigilant. My main concern is communication - I only speak English and a little Spanish. I do not speak French or any African language. That will be my primary disadvantage.

I am a 61 year African American woman who is not flashy and very low-key. I would dress in African garb. I don't have Gucci luggage. I would do my best to blend in.

Do you think this could work? Or am I dreaming? I particularly want to hear from people who have traveled to, or lived in Africa.


Land Travel, Nigeria, Travel

Meet the author

author avatar Debra G
I am a 61 year old African American business owner. I live near Atlanta, Georgia. My writing will not have a particular focus although I am interested in politics, travel, and advocacy.

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author avatar Markthespark
27th Aug 2018 (#)

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