Why I moved to Africa: finding my way home

The yearnings to go there started when I was a child, say about 8 or 9 years old and by the time I was 12, I had already begun writing poetry about Africa, drawing pictures of African fashion, landscapes and people in my sketchpad.

You may know what this feels like because you, too, have a calling. Mine is to live and work in Africa. I really don’t want to be sappy or cliché about it because it is such a precious voice that I still hear every day. I grew up in the American south and in 2010, at 24 years old, I started finding my way home. I answered the call.

First stop Kenya, then Nigeria, Senegal, then back to Nigeria. These are the countries where I chose to take up residence and when I was not living in them, I was traveling through other African countries reporting on ground for days at a time and hopping from one hotel to the next. As a child, I had romanticized the continent so much in my head that I had no choice but to love it upon arrival. So that’s what I did. I loved it without shame.

I imagined that being in Africa would heal all my pains of feeling so out of place in America, but that’s not exactly what happened. Nigeria was challenging for me because my expectations of it were so high, the reason being that I am Nigerian. There, I realized that home is more complex than I had imagined. I mused on that reality for a piece I wrote on Medium. It starts like this:

As I approach 34 years old, I find myself thinking more about the idea of home and wondering if I’ve found it. I enjoy conversations with transnational Millennials grappling with the same question. With the hyper pace of globalization, constructs of home continue to evolve and I find it all so fascinating.

Read the rest here.

So, I’ll end this post with the same line of thought that I ended the Medium essay with. When I left America to move to Africa, I was finding my way home because I was answering a calling to begin a journey that matters just as much as the destination. I am enjoying my journey through Africa and wherever I end up is wherever I’ll end up. I’ll be OK there.

Are you home?

One thought on “Why I moved to Africa: finding my way home

  1. The idea of home could be elusive sometimes when we try to find it in places or in things. In my opinion, It is mostly found within us and in the cherished people around us. If we are able to find this peace and calm in those people and in ourselves, no matter where we are, it could easily become home.

    Nice one Chika!

    Like

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