It has been a dream for many years to travel through Africa. As many other tourists, I am hoping to see tons of wild animals, to enjoy the comfort of some exotic lodge and am looking forward to dive into a new culinary world with to me unknown dishes, flavors and spices. All we need to do is save up a little and to fulfill the dream. Simply book an all-inclusive package with a renowned travel operator and include an epic safari. That would be enough to make my friends jealous with great pictures. That would be a way to travel in Africa. But that would definitely not be my way.
I never wanted to go to Africa, just to spend my vacation there. The second-largest continent on this planet has been a true mystery to me so far. Facts that are only half true, prejudgment and prejudices, as well as the terrible headlines that kept on reaching the entire world about almost everyone of the 55 countries that Africa is made up of, have also had an (unwanted?) impact on my vision of Africa, just like knowing that the continent is a true enrichment to this world when it comes to nature and culture. It is definitely not the first trip of Lennart and me to financially poorer countries. However, when looking at the “Gross Domestic Product” per person, it cannot be denied that we are not talking about “just poorer” countries: 9 of the 10 poorest countries in the world are located in Africa (2018).
Hence, I am expecting a total culture shock. However, I have to admit that we want to let go of all expectations, and I only want to go in open-minded to truly see and experience during this journey.
Why is Africa suffering from ever increasing poverty, when it is being flooded with charity projects and development assistance? What do all these donations and projects actually achieve? What do the local people truly need to be happy? What dreams do they have? Could it be that there is a deeper, maybe unintended desire for a modern form of colonialism that comes with these projects? How is my modern life at home made possible by the exploitation of Africa? Is there a connection? What can I learn from the African people?
As you can tell, Africa is keeping me busy. I am intrigued by its beauty, but at the same time I definitely do not want to ignore the horrible things that are going on there. Both me an Lennart are certainly no holders of a degree in political science, nor are we ecologists or history experts. We are certainly not so naïve to think that we have the answers to questions that many much smarter people have already asked way before us. However, it is also not the sole responsibility of these “smart people” to make all the decisions in the moments that it truly matters. If we want to live in a better world, these decisions lye within ourselves: we all have to take our responsibilities. If we want to apply our Western fundamental human rights to the entire world, then we cannot ignore the consequences and over consumption this results in elsewhere.
Of course, our preparation for this trip includes all that you would normally expect from such a trip. However, our perception of the environment and of what we considered to be normal habits is starting to be more complex.
And this process we would also like to share with you. If you also want to start questioning your daily habits, where your daily decisions can lead to a better world, have a look at #17Ziele (17 goals):
As you might have seen on our webpage already, we will several charity projects during our journey to Cape Town, to see how (and if) these are actually beneficial to the local people. We are not limiting our charity projects to one topic, but try to focus on a diverse and broad amount of topics: sustainability, environmental impact, nutrition and medical care, woman and children, education… The research has begun and we know already that it ain’t going to be easy to pick our projects. Of course we hope that these projects are well-run, efficient and truly make a difference to the local people. But also if not, we will report here about what we witnessed, and how this impacted us.
Thanks for following us already during our preparations! Feel free to write us in case you have any specific topic you want to know something about or in case of any questions.