Thursday, December 2, 2010


The middle-aged white woman sits comfortably on a padded chair. Her short "mom" haircut rests behind her ears which sport expensive looking silver hoops. Her delicate non-calloused hands hold a copy of Chenua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart". Just beyond the pages of her book the waves crash in on a white sand, palm tree lined beach. This is Africa-or is it? Here the comfort of the coast resembles Europe, except with more black people.

The woman, most likely, purchased the book at a comparatively pricey cost in some chain bookstore run by a multi-million dollar company. The book about Africa makes a perfect accompaniment on the trip to Africa. But will she ever see it, know it, feel it? Will she leave he comforts of a beach side tourist culture to go upcountry a few hours and see that people, Africans, are still living in the exact same manner as described in "Things Fall Apart"? Although the book was set in precolonial Africa the cultural details and living conditions are identical to life in The Gambia. Will she go and discover it, or continue sitting in her bikini drinking a beer in front of the ocean reading her book? Tourists come so close yet so far away from real Africa.


  1. Hello! You have a wonderful blog! I am happy to visit here!

  2. Joanna, really really amazing stuff. I love they way you recount your experience there--it's all so visual. Keep up the good work!

    -Phil Garrity

  3. Darling Joanna,
    I am so anxious to talk to your family upon their return from seeing you. You my dear are amazing. A Woman of the world my dear...your experiences shared with such vivid detail are transformative to me. The smiles of your Gambian family members have captured my heart...I think of you often sending prayers and love always. See a full moon and know that I am praying and thinking of you in that moment. All is well here...can't wait to talk to you MOM in a few days. Love you dear one, PEGGY

  4. Very nicely said.
    'Hope you'll enjoy the holiday season.
    Our hearts are with you all.
    Best wishes, always,