June 2011. Sitting on Cairo Airport.
I still have tears on my face. Sending last goodbye emails to italian friends and colleagues whom I have been living with for the past 12 months. A new adventure is about to start. The very one that will change my life the most. I am moving to Africa. I am moving to Ethiopia, Addis Ababa.
I am moving there without knowing anything of Ethiopian culture. With superficial understanding of the Ethiopian social and economical situation. Everything I know is based on the stories of Europeans I know who have been there already. Spiced up with images and stories of Ethiopia I have been reading on media.
I think I am going to Africa.
I have been sitting on the same table several other times in the past 1.5 year. I have been here spending my last Euro cents on a ice cream. I have been checking my papers to get ready for University exams starting the day after I would have landed in Milan. I have been excited to go home to graduate. I have been lonely, waiting for Skype calls that here are not allowed through public wi-fi. I felt even more lonely traveling alone to Hungary. just because I am italian and my potential teammate was a Ghanean living in Ethiopia. (but this is another story..).
I have been sitting here going back to places I used to consider home. In Addis Ababa. In Johannesburg.
January, 2013. Sitting in Cairo Airport. Again.
This time I am sure about “going home” feeling. I know what and who am I going to find there. I know what will I eat and which languages people around me will talk. I know where to find churches, how to spend my free time, how to move in the city.
I learnt this in Addis Ababa, in Nairobi, in Maputo, and suddenly in Johannesburg.
I have been traveling flying Economy (still a luxury that the main part of African citizens cannot even dream of). I have been moving around cities with Matatu, minibuses, motorbikes, walking. And I have been walking a very long way! I have suffered. But everything I suffered has been less than the majority of African have gone through at least once in their lives. This blog, this year is not going to tell stories of Africa. I will write stories of me and people I meet in Africa, all along the continent. Where I live and where I am going. I will tell stories of our meetings and of the time we will spend together.
To all my Italian, European, Worldwide friends: Africa is a continent. It is too big to be described. It is too diverse to be referred to as a unicum. It is just to simplify that we call it Africa. “Just to make it easier. In fact, apart from its geographical name, Africa does not exist” (Ryszard Kapuscinski)
I am sitting in Cairo. I am in Africa. I am going back to Johannesburg.