Africa: My love story

Siesta time

Twenty four years ago I traveled to Tanzania for the first time, and I fell in love. Real love. Huge love. Knee shaking, lip quivering love. The kind of love that makes you feel invincible while vulnerable, insatiable with curiosity for the other, capable of wonders, ecstatic in your own skin, and completely seen and “at home.” It’s a love that is so big it overwhelms and in fact it overflows… to self, to others, to all.

This is what ultimately keeps me returning to Africa, and it is why Unite the World with Africa LLC (Unite Tours and Ashe Collection) and, more recently, Unite the World with Africa Foundation were created. Because my experience is a love so pure and beyond measure it seeps in through my feet up through my body and out through my eyes to all I see. It pulls me far beyond the boundaries of my comfort zone and inspires me to love recklessly, and in that space I am happy. I am full of joy.

I, of course, love recklessly at home too… David, Lila, Harriett, Katharine, Kim, my parents, extended family and friends. But it does not come as naturally for me here with complete strangers. So I work at it, hard. I discipline myself and do all I can to bring my love forward abundantly and without judgement or expectation. The difference is that in Tanzania I don’t have to work at it. My love naturally flows freely. I am not sure why it’s easier for me there. Perhaps I am not a good enough person yet, and that is ok too because this life is about evolution and the raising of consciousness. I am where I am in my journey. And even that is clearer in Africa. There I enjoy a deep knowing that I am part of something much bigger and that God is guiding me. There is no doubt.

So… I invite people to come with me to Tanzania or at least “through me” with our Unite Tour service safari program, because I want them to know this love. Where does it come from? I am not certain; however, I believe that when we stand our tiny feet on the enormity of Mother Africa and selflessly serve and care for those who suffering, in places we do not have to look, care or venture — we are able to access that space deep within where there is no you and there is no me. There is only US. And from that space, miracles are born. It doesn’t always happen, of course, but when it does a tiny bit more of our precious planet is healed.

What love looks like is just in the details… the holding of hands; embracing the sick; sharing a meal; or providing school fees, food, medicine, clean water, loans, jobs, etc. What is most important is that we feel it and respond to it. Countless times each and everyday I ask myself, “In this moment Anne, what would love do?” And then… Am I courageous enough, perhaps reckless enough, to follow its call?

My fervent prayer is…. yes.

*** Photo courtesy of Francesco Pierre-Nina***