I've been wanting to get to Africa for years, both for info for my novel and to find stories that the world needs to hear.
Things just didn't seem to go my way, but now it's turning.
Looking back, I see that Life was preparing me and though I wanted Africa years ago, it appears that I had to meet some people and experience some things before that could happen and benefit all involved.
I majored in journalism. A former dept. head/professor helped created the journalism dept. at the University of Rhwanda. He had a deep interest in Africa. On his last trip, however, he contracted an illness which killed him.
I had asked the current dept. head how I might go about joining a news team reporting in Africa and he suggested I contact the University of Rhwanda and be an ambassador of sorts -- reestablishing the ties between NMSU and them. A possibility.
For the novel, I have to go to Ghana. One day I'm at the university and a man asks me for directions. I walk him to the building he's looking for 'cause I'm nice like that and on the way, we're just chatting; it turns out he's the new director of Black Programs and he's from--yes, Ghana. I tell him about my book and add I might be bugging him for assistance. He says no problem.
The novel also takes place, in part, in South Africa. This morning I talked to the former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa (served under Clinton)who now works at NMSU and he's going to e-mail me some contacts (people and foundations) that may be able to help me get to Africa, and to the countries I want to visit.
When I was in San Francisco, the cab driver who drove me was from the Sudan. He gave me his e-mail address so I could get in contact with him. You will stay with my family, he told me.
My recent police incident has enlightened me. Violation of rights in America seemed foreign to me, but now having experienced abuse of power and injustice, I have a greater appreciation for those in countries, like Africa, where you are severely limited in your rights and in protecting/defending those same rights.
I met this man with whom I shared my dream. He told me I was selfish, that I was wrong in trying to go to Africa without much thought to my minor children. Later he apologized, but he was right. (I even told him that he was right--by the look on his face, I think it was the first time a woman had conceded to him--ha!) Although I sometimes feel like I'm only the "ATM-did you wash my jeans-what's for dinner?" person, it wouldn't be fair to put myself in a situation (Sudan) where I could die and leave minor children. Then BOOM, I find out about an organization that does work aiding those in other countries will allow me to take my children along (my children want to go )and at the same time prepare me for Africa. "Africa is a hard place," one of the coordinators told me. "We don't do work there." But working for them can help me adjust, and ease me into Africa. In two years, I'm childless. Even if the situation in the Sudan were to change for the postive, in two years there would still be stories of rebuilding, etc. Guilt factor removed.
I'm coming to trust that when the time is right for all concerned, what is to happen will happen.
All excited 'cause I'm answering my calling and that fulfills me in a deep way. Of course, as I mentioned before, I'm having to give up the writing to a degree and while I said previously that I was okay with that, I'm finding I'm actually not. It could be because I really love writing, but it could also be that I'm going to have to move back to something that I haven't done in years and I'm scared 'cause what if I've lost it.
See my degree is in Journalism but it's in production. I like producing and directing. I used to make short films and I was good at it. I used to do photography as well. I'm very visual. I can't learn something by reading it in a book-- show me and I've got it. But what if I don't got "it" anymore? No great feeling of insecurity here; it's just the getting on the bike again. WHEN will the wobbling stop? If I fall, will I get hurt? I can't seem to pedal, pay attention to the road and direct that front wheel all at the same time---hahahahaha.
So in Vermont, there's a school teaching filmmaking and it's some refresher classes there. There's the Refugee Resettlement Program, working with refugees including those from Africa -- and yes the Sudan.
The thing now is to pull all this together. The end result is this: A new blog where I write about and share the world and its other people. Short videos on YouTube. Short documentaries. Print news stories (yes, I still so want that New York Times byline).
It's the getting "there" that I have to currently concern myself with. From "here" to that place. The new journey I'm walking. It looks like it will be quite an adventure.