I grew up listening to Paul Simon’s Graceland and dreaming of Africa. I grew up and studied Anthropology and read all about different cultures in Africa – I even took an African Wildlife Management course (yeah, that one was for the Honors program, who really takes classes like that normally?) I grew up with an opinion of Africa that was hot, colorful, expansive, and filled with exotic animals. Also, with a special thanks to Simon, my view of dance and music was naturalistic, up-beat, and well, African.
As it turns out, those opinions have been crushed a little since I have arrived. It seems like the one country I found myself living in, is the country that doesn’t quite fit. My country, except for the “poor” part, is totally different than what I have read and heard about. It is not quite African, not quite Arabian, and not quite Indian all at the same time.
But…I have traveled south and found myself in what I imagine as Paul Simon’s Africa, Jane Goodall’s Africa, and Richard Leakey’s Africa. Here there are large expanses of land filled with crazy, cool animals. Woman wear bright colored clothing with funky patterns. The music has that “African” beat. And as I watched baby elephants run and play in the game park, I started humming “Under African Skies.”