Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Journey to Africa - Feb 2012

I've been gone for a couple of weeks but I'm home!

And I am happy and so grateful to have been able to visit my ancestral homeland. It was an experience that touched me in ways I cannot explain and left me with a sense of wholeness for the first time in my life.

I have to take time before I begin my recap, to thank my hosts in Senegal, Idy Sow and Moussa Sall, and their families. They opened their home to us and were the guides that became our friends and without them our trip would not have been the same.

Also many, many thanks to our hosts in Guinea Bissau, Maritza, Freddy, Raquel and a host of people from the many villages we visited.

Also a big thanks to Rashida and new family the Djalo's who welcomed me as a member of their family.

And last but never least, my thanks go to Randii and Willie who shared this wonderful journey with me. I know they feel the same sense of completion as I do.

During the trip I kept a daily diary of our journey. Over the next couple of weeks I will share our experience along with pictures and videos. I hope you will stop by and share the journey.
clothes hanging on the line after being treated with Permethrin to kill mosquitoes and insects

                                                       The Journey Begins
Day one
Thurs 2/16
I decided to fly in a day early to break up the flight so I was up very late packing last night. Had to rearrange my luggage and try to figure out which converters to bring for my electronics as well as figure out how to set combinations for my new TSA locks.  Decided to wait until today to resolve.  Ended up bringing all the converters because we couldn't figure out one works in Africa and we ruined one lock getting it stuck on an unknown combination.

At the airport I needed to go through the full service line at Virgin America in order to pay for luggage.  Virgin America charges $25/bag.  Paid for my bags and proceeded to the security check point. Got through security quickly and guess what??? They did not choose me for the random love pat down.  This could be the start of something grand. About 15 minutes after I arrived at my gate, we boarded our flight.  I really like Virgin, partly because they have TV and I can watch MSNBC and feel just like I'm at home. I ordered my sandwich, set up my wifi ($14.95 ) and I've been happily emailing and checking Facebook.

I also received an update re my naming celebration.  This morning Rashida (now my sis) told me that for my renaming ceremony I needed a traditional dress and that they would get me fabric.  She said a dress would be made for me so I sent my measurements.  Later I received this picture sample of the material.
My new name will be, Nenegale Djalo (mother of the house) more on that later.  Anyway, I am very pleased.  I await a picture showing the style of the dress.

Oh, and I forgot my camera cable so won't be able to upload any photos on this trip unless I can find one in DC tomorrow.   Always something!

About 5 hours later I arrived in DC on time. Got the shuttle to the Hyatt Hotel and checked into my room. The Hyatt Dulles is a very nice hotel and is very close to the airport. I had not yet met Randii so I phoned her and we met in the hotel lobby. After a drink (actually I had 2 margaritas - she does not drink - and some clams) we were happily chatting like old friends. We ended the evening and decided to meet in the morning for breakfast before departing to the airport for our flight to Africa.

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