AB says there are portions of Bukidnon that look very similar to the land in Kenya and Rwanda. She has been to Kenya at least twice now, and once to Rwanda. I have never been to East Africa, but I was excited by the fact that I could actually find bits of these countries here, so close to home.
Or at least, reflections of Africa.
Mirrors, of a sort.
On the bus ride home from last week’s retreat, I asked AB to point out the places that looked like Kenya and Rwanda. We stayed awake the whole of the two-hour ride, looking out the window and talking about her experiences from both countries. She pointed out plains, and certain trees, and the rolling hills that reminded her especially of Rwanda. It was a fitting backdrop as she shared her adventures–some of which I had heard before, but ever since coming back from Ghana I have listened to her stories with (an almost hungry) interest.
“It’s like I’m your living connection to Africa!” she said with amusement. She was right. The physically closest connection, no doubt.
I have never been to East Africa. (Those fifteen minutes on the tarmac in Ethiopia don’t really count.) I had only visited Ghana briefly in 2016, though I did make good friends from different parts of Africa then, and all the things I studied about various African countries afterward only fueled this growing interest in the continent. My uncle was right in saying that it stays with you afterward; he grew up in Tanzania, and though has never returned there, still thinks of it as home.
Sometimes I’m not sure what to do with this interest, with everything that I know and am still learning, or if any of this even means anything at all. I do know though, that last year’s experience was a growth marker in many ways. I was at home there in a way that I had never been in any other place; a wise friend remarked that perhaps Ghana drew out parts of me that I could not freely express when I am home in the Philippines. I am eager to further explore what that means, though right now I can’t see how that might happen.
Still. Who’s to say what’s impossible?
I watched the Bukidnon hills roll by in the late afternoon sun, imagining how the hills roll by in a similar way on the other side of the world, and I wondered when I might ever go back.
One day, hopefully. God willing.