#Article (Archive)

Memoirs of a traveler

Aug 12, 2010, 2:09 PM

Unlike the dusty pot-holed roads of Africa where the driver would profusely ask for your forgiveness as if it was his fault or better still quarrel with you as if it were your fault that the vehicle danced around, the airplane was a different case.

Although it is beautiful and magical, my first time on it was a nightmare.

I kept looking up and down at the clouds and wondering how big they were.

My heart always jumped to my mouth whenever the airplane made a turn or shifted a little bit higher or lower. 

For a moment I was sure death was looming behind the clouds waiting for the right moment.

At last we landed at Dulles International Airport in Washington DC but not without making a show.

When one of the Air-hostesses announced that we were about to land, I braced myself.

I kept looking through the window to have a glance of Washington in the morning but it was blurred. I couldn't see much.

Finally, the airplane surged downwards squeezing its way through the clouds and the roaring wind.

All I could do was grit my teeth, shut my eyes tight and grip the arm rest with all my might like my life depended on it. Perhaps it did by that time.

Now that I am home in Africa, who ever asks me "How sweet is America?"

I answer, "Oh it is just cool."

I would see disappointment registering on their faces whenever I say this because they expected me to say with enthusiasm and all my energy that it was great.

No I couldn't leave in dreaming dreams of a different life not after knowing that whenever I come back home I was going to cook lunch in our smoky kitchen and blow my nose with my hand and wipe it at the back of my lappa and tears would stream down my cheek because of the smoke.

This couldn't change even after having a ride in the trains, using the escalators to go underground and use the elevators to go to my hotel room and even after seeing Obama.

I couldn’t stay but come back home to my Africa, my Gambia to be the change I seek, to develop it like how we see the USA and most importantly make it the change we seek.