The French expression, "L'Afrique est comme une drogue," meaning Africa is like a drug, exemplifies the way life here in Africa is.
Like all addictions, you start small. The first taste hooks you. For me this hook, was the fact that there is so much need and life to discover here in Africa. I always talked and dreamed of going, learning the language. The culture of Africa seemed diverse, interesting and so rich. The first taste for me, was an easy sell, no peer pressure involved at all.
The second taste was more than I could handle. I set foot here in Kenya, and well I was over the threshold, both feet fully committed to this addiction. The minute I inhaled the sweetness of Kenya, I knew my life would never be the same.
Addiction like all things in life comes with its positives and its negatives. The highs here in Kenya include the wonder of the safari. Seeing animals that you only can see in the States at the zoo, in their natural enviroment. No concern for you, going about their business all in harmony. The highs show you the balance of nature and development. The highs are the vibrant people full of hope, love and happiness despite their surroundings. The highs are a ride of your life. The ride that takes you up and down, takes you to the far reaches of dreams and opens your eyes to the unimaginable.
The lows however of this addiction are heartbreaking. The lows are seeing poverty in the fullest of its definition. Seeing starvation. Lack of access to water. Lack of electricity. Lack of basic needs. The lows are knowing all this exists in a place you are now living, yet, you can do little to combat this. You are one, you are making a dent, but in the big scheme of things is too small.
In between the highs and low you realize that you are not the only person addicted. You are not the only person living in a hazy African fog of ugali, maize, love and emotion. You are together. You are one of many. You know that you are united under a common cause. The addiction that is Africa.
Africa. I hope I never have to go to rehab.