I Wanna be African Happy

In that ‘I am happy to be alive’ kinda way, every day

clean yet?
Amadu – always happy
I said frown, dammit
Poor yet happy
know the 'bird'?
Thumbs up, always
What can I say? I love Africa.
Sub-Sahara Black Africa. East and West Africa to be exact. The people are so nice, the land so rich, the life so good, I feel very happy here. I now know why Africa is Africa and by Western standards, undeveloped. By African standards, I think we in the West are the undeveloped ones.

We still spend day in and day out, fifty, sixty, seventy hours of a week working in cold, sterile, hermetically sealed buildings pushing buttons and passing paper.

Our off hours are spent in front of TV, Tivos, and CRT’s, passively absorbing spoon-fed mind mush. Excitement is a new issue of People or a new OC episode. Is that development? Is that the good life?

I look around Africa and I see people who are happy, really happy in that ‘today I am alive’ happiness. No Dads bitching about the morning commute, rising property taxes, or crashing servers. No fat kids needing overprotective Moms to drive ’em to suburban schools in big SUV’s.

Granted, many Africans would love to have these problems. Theirs are usually much more basic: water, food, shelter, security. These basic problems allow them to have basic happiness, happiness that shows through purely and honestly.

It is this happiness, from Puce growing watermelon in Kisumu to Amadu washing his moped in Bamako. They reach a level of happiness we would be wise to search for.

I know I am trying to find it. Just now, as I type this on the flight from Dakar to Accra, I looked out the window and saw us passing a giant thunderstorm. Instead of typing, reading, or even eating, I stopped everything and just watched Nature at her finest. I only wish I could do that more often.

Stop and smell the roses or watch a thunderstorm, and be African happy.

  1. I so agree with what you say here. Its so easy for me to be happy in
    Africa. It almost feels, whenever I’m there I’m home.

    Africa can elicit feelings and comfort that I’ve not found in the
    other destinations. I’ll have to give that one a little more thought!

  2. I’ve never been to Africa. However, Tom and Patsy went there and loved it dearly. We plan on going there next year. After your description, I now know why this is where Tom would like to retire. Who knows, in three years when I retire, we may become African.

    Thanx for sharing,

  3. hey wayan!

    I think i love this “thought” the most! “be african
    happy”…(sigh)..Isn’t that the truth!

  4. thank you for these lines, they make my heart ache as i would love to be in africa, but they remind me to look out for the “african happiness” wherever i am.

    take care!
    un gran abrazo,

  5. Hi Wayan:

    I have subscribed to your adventure for a while now.

    I agree with you totally on this one. I was in Tibet last September and experience similar feeling towards our civilization here in the US. I witnessed men and women in the fields harvesting the barley, I visited one of the families in the humble farm house, and was treated with their simple snack made very quickly from the produce.

    Sons and daughters go out during the day manning their sheep, cattle and yaks. The rest of the women prepared meals at home and they enjoyed the meals together as a family – everyday!

    The sad thing is that, when I visited the bigger citties in China during the same trip, I saw the locals trying to do what we do here in the US – eating in MacDonalds, etc..

    Nice hearing from you.

  6. Talk about it Wayan,Say it once again.It is unfortunate that you guys when you go there,you go as tourists.You don’t have people that you really know there.Otherwise it’d have been total FUN.
    People who have never gone to Africa talk whatever they ‘dream’of.
    And to be straight,Africa gets a bad picture when it comes to political sense.But all in all,Africa is a wonderful place to go to.You just get relaxed,peace of mind,no hurry,nothing to worry about when you are there.They have a way of belief that if you can’t achieve all that you wanna do,then it’s not the end of the world.Calm down!Then with the climate there,you just feel warm,and leave change to do its work.
    All in all,I love Africa,I love the unity the families have,the love,because they are told from childhood to love oneanother and to welcome Visitors or new people in their homes,which is totally different here. Here a burgler’d break into someones home,kill and get away with it.
    But in Africa,your neighbour will make sure the the burgler doesn’t leave the place kicking!Interesting.
    Guys,you are all welcome to Africa.Eat drink and enjoy yourselves.
    Africa is a place to be.
    But remember,when you go Rome,you have to behave like Romans so as to mingle.
    Love you all.

  7. You sure do paint a rosy picture of Africa, Wayan. It makes a nice story and a lovely romantic entry for your website… Not to rain on your parade here, but in the three years he’s worked for me, Puce has lost five family members to illnesses that would have been easily curable in the States, save one — AIDS. Had we not been around to help, his 8-year-old son would have died of malaria last year. Because of his trusting nature and ignorance (and crooked land commissioners), he nearly lost his tiny plot of land in Homa Bay where his wife grows barely enough food for their 7 children. Puce’s life has been filled with hardship and tragedy, and I’m sure he’d trade it for the stressful commute, the property taxes, the obese kids, and the gas-guzzling SUV in a split second. Sure, he smiles and laughs a lot — maybe it’s the only way he can bear it

  8. In Africa,people are living in tropics as far as geography is concerned.With their rain and sunshine,they rally do cultivation.Talk about fruits and sugarcanes!You saw them yourself.
    But when it comes to tropical diseases,you really know what it means.Not everyone is vigilant.If I was not careful and vigilant,I would have died of those tropical diseases,not forgetting aids itself.
    This is not a disease that you just get because you have sat besides someone on plane!No!It’s not an airborne disease.You get it when you PLAY BADLY YOUR CARDS. And who to blame? Negligence or tropical diseases?
    I hear that even people here die because of winter/summer! Negligence or what?
    In an advanced part of the world like this one,to me,this issue of winter should be unheard off!
    Anyway,we should always stick to reality.
    Which outweigh the other?
    You’ve got the answer Wayan. Don’t you?