Being half African and half African American, I understand the importance of having a sense of culture. My father from a country that lays on the west coast of Africa called Senegal. My mother, from Wayne County, Michigan. I have heard all of the stereotypical “African joke” growing up. “Do you guys live in huts? Have you seen lions and monkeys outside?”
These are some of the outrageous questions people have asked me due to my ethnicity. Then again their ignorance is not entirely their fault. When CNN and other big news stations portray Africa as some struggling entity and forget that it is actually a country, it is easy for people to believe this. Although I may not be able to physically take these ignorant people to Senegal, I may be able to influence their thoughts of Africa through my experiences there. I believe in the power of travel and how it can promote a more open minded society.
At the end of my sophomore year, I decided to take a trip to Senegal during the summer. The environment there had its similarities and differences to America. I remember looking out the balcony of my three story home and examining how everyone interacted with one another. There was a sense of unity, like everyone knew each other. It was also evident that I looked at the beautiful skyscrapers that stared down at me. This made me wish that my friends were with me to see how beautiful the country was.
When I came back to America, all of my classmates told me the same things. “You lost so much weight? Did you not eat good out there?” Although these are petty jokes, many people are misinformed on the lifestyle people live in Africa. First of all, Africa is a continent of 54 countries, therefore there are many different social classes.