Setting Sail Again

September 11, 2012 — 9 Comments

The time has come for for me to set sail again.

After two years in New York City, and three years stateside since my last stint abroad in Ghana, I will be setting my sights on a temporary stay in the Caribbean. I will be making a move to the Dutch Antilles in a little over a week. Idyllic choice of location, yes, but I am personally compelled to take myself out of the NYC/DC environment for some time to gain some personal clarity on many aspects of my life and purpose. In order to prepare for life’s next steps, one must take some time to decide what shoes to put on first.

I am also compelled by the untold stories of the Caribbean, the under-reported stories of the black diaspora that are just as much a part of the  of the fabric popular discourse on African migration as the U.S.-Africa connection. Little do people know that the largest collection of African history/slavery artifacts in the Caribbean is in Curacao. Little do people know that people from West Africa come to the Dutch Antilles and find that they can understand the local language, Papiamentu. Little do people know that the issues of belonging, identity, and globalization that I have wrestled with as a member of the African diaspora in the United States, feature prominently with Curacaoans as well. I want to tell these stories, and hopefully stories from other parts of the Caribbean. My hope is that I can find ears that will listen.

I know it is not the traditional path many would have thought I would have taken after graduate school. But after graduate school, I realized that a burning curiosity about the world has been driving me and the best way for me to satisfy that is to gain first-hand experience. I’m not rich, and who knows if I ever will be, but I decided to save up my M&Ms and Skittles in the bank so that I can take this chance, so that I can bet on myself. I’ve always have tried the best I could to follow my heart, and to this day, though I may have made mistakes, I have no regrets, only lessons.  I need to do what is best for myself, so that I can move to serve others in this life.

To those who think I am leaving my work Africa…never fear! Africa is in my heart and my blood. I am looking to make my return to the continent soon, when the time is right.

I will undoubtedly miss my wonderful family, as well as all fantastic friends in New York, DC, and Dallas, and everywhere else in this world I have been fortunate enough to spend some time in. But hey, keeping in touch is what Facebook, smartphones, Twitter, Skype, Gchat, WhatsApp, smoke signals and Morse Code are for, right?

To all those who have supported, encouraged and helped me to work through this process, I thank you. To those who have questioned and criticized, I hear you, but know I still respect you.

Until next time, Ayo, United States!

 

 

 

 

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9 responses to Setting Sail Again

  1. 

    I admire your courage. In a world that promotes glamour, you chose to leave it behind though you have the credentials to max life to the full. I wish some African/American Corporation can fund your work because you’ll be working and am sure, you’ll write a book. I wish you find answers to life’s important questions: Why are we here? Why is so much suffering in the World? etc. etc.At some point i was really bothered until i found reliable, satisfying answers that enables me to always make informed decisions and to understand why the World is going down hill despite the best efforts of humans. Who can believe that slavery still exists today? And how about the atrocities in places like Rwanda and the Congo by fellow Africans? I wish you find peace, which comes from understanding why things are like they are. Take good care of yourself and enjoy the local delicacies out there.

  2. 

    Karen, wow I love hearing stories of people taking big bold steps & following their heart. I can’t wait to visit you in the Dutch Antilles while shooting a destination wedding there

  3. 

    I think this a great move. I hope more of us find the courage, time, and opportunity to take similar steps of connecting with Diaspora in the Caribbean and Latin America. There is such a wealth of knowledge and connection that is untapped. Your next steps sounds exciting and I can’t wait to hear the stories and see the linkages that are uncovered. Wishing you insight, strength, and wow moments on your journey!

    • 

      Thank you Buky! I’m still putting together piece of how to make the move work, but there is a wealth of knowledge here as far as diaspora, I can sense it. I’ve got my handy recorders and cameras ready for all of it. Thank you so much again, and keep in touch!

  4. 

    Tradition, status quo, and expectations sometimes seem rather rife, monotonous and unexciting. Some of us both the well grounded and the less grounded grow up to rebel against this multitudinous path and attempt to break new grounds. Now, I fully understand George Bernard Shaw’s adage about how the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself as opposed to adapting to the world like the rest of the reasonable people, but it boils down to “working for a pay check vs waiting to win to lottery”. Taking chances vs following the tried and surer path- following expectations. I mean there is a reason it is the tradition, there is a reason it is the expectation and there is a reason everybody tread this path. They cant all be stupid. Who am I to say “Stay or Go” . In fact it will be wrong to say “stay” knowing that innovation is begotten by a certain level of unreasonable-ness. But I’m nostalgic!. Like the rest of your loved ones, I’m worried because I’m certain that there is a price you would pay for not following the tradition. Am even more worried because I have no idea what the price is but one thing is for sure, I wish you good luck. I pray that your prize be better than the price you would have to pay. Good luck dear friend.

    Anon.

    • 

      Thank you for the comment. I would tend to think that really and truly, however, there is no such thing as a sure path. People go to school, get jobs, lose jobs, get married, get divorced, fall ill, and encounter a host of curve balls life can potentially throw at you. Every day one wakes up, you take a chance. The only thing that is sure in life, I think, are your dreams. Whether you choose to pursue your dreams in waking life is a different story. There could very well be a price I could pay for taking this step, and I know I am already paying certain prices. But at the end of the day, this was the best choice I could make for myself. 🙂

  5. 

    So…

    1. I am so glad that I now have a vacay spot in the Dutch Antilles… when I can scrape together some skittles and peanuts, I will defo be making a visit..

    2. I LOVE this whole stories of the diaspora move… we will have to debrief when you are 6 months in… because I would love to hear slash make some connections with an African- American friend I have who is also interested in piecing together the voices…

    3. I wish you only the best of luck and I pray God empowers you and inspires you, but most of all I pray that he gives you love, joy and peace in your pursuit…

    MUAHZ!

    • 

      Hi Amma!

      1) Yes you do have a vacation spot in the Dutch Antilles. Just get your plane ticket, girl!

      2) Yea the diaspora stories here could prove to be really fascinating. I would love to be in touch with your friend, you know how to find me.

      #)Thank you so much for the prayers. I cannot say I’m not nervous about this new phase, but no matter what happens, it will all be for the best. Come visit me anytime! And Do keep in touch with what is happening in Ghana, especially with the elections..!

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