I’m traveling to the great unknown. The moon? Mars? Not quite yet. Currently I’m still stuck on planet Earth, but that’s ok because I have not come anywhere close to visiting all of the amazing wonders here. My next stop – Africa! I am incredibly excited as I put going to Africa on my bucket list years ago. Now it is finally a reality. I’m headed to Rwanda.
I’ve found talking to people before leaving that what they think Africa currently is like is stuck in the past. So far I’ve been told that it is extremely dangerous and that I shouldn’t go. I’ve been asked how I think I’m going to get along – having to eat bugs for meals. And many people I’ve talked to associate all the people living in Africa to live in the same way. But all of these ideas are false. Yes – Rwanda did have a genocide in 1994, but it is no longer any more unsafe than where I currently live. This past year alone, there were shootings and people being killed just blocks away from my house and university, even right across the street. I am not worried about my safety in Rwanda. My school would not allow us to go somewhere that we have a high chance of dying. Furthermore, these people are not eating bugs. The meals that end up on the table are different than those in the U.S. because they are influenced by different cultures and the food that is available at the time. I don’t know what exactly I will be eating, but I know it’s not going to be bugs. If anything, I’m sure it will be healthier than much of the food in the U.S. because it will likely be less processed. Finally, we can’t lump sum everyone in Africa to be the same. Africa is HUGE! Flying from the top of Africa down to Rwanda (which isn’t even at the bottom of Africa) will take longer than flying from the United States over to Europe. Diversity is important to keep in mind.
I’m hoping by the end of this trip I will be able to open my own eyes (and hopefully everyone who decides to read this) to what Rwanda is really like in the year 2016. It’s not without its problems, but neither are most other countries.