Our root is our power. Remembering to go back to places that anchor us is medicine for the soul. Madagascar represents that for me. Acknowledging this part of my identity gives meaning to the many layers of my being, which I have for a long while left dormant and even forgotten about. Luckily through my inward journey, I discovered the POWER that lays in acknowledging all parts of oneself without minimizing any. Wholeness comes from that acknowledgment and by giving permission to self to embark on that voyage there is so much self-discovery that takes place and I feel that it would be a shame not to experience that in the name of “comfort” and remain in known territories.
I am a wanderer, a nomad at heart, traveling, mingling with people from different cultures has shaped my soul and my view of the world. WE are much more similar than we are different. Being on the African continent brings a deep sense of calm, ease that I have yet to feel in any part of the world I have lived and visited. I can confidently share that I have successfully lived and worked on three continents (Africa, America, and Europe), visited five of the seven continents, and very much at ease with people from all walks of life. Going back to Madagascar with my goddaughter (daughter of my Malagasy cousin) who is Canadian, and only knows Montreal as her home, would be an incredible opportunity and experience to have together as we further discover our other home and feel the energies that the land of our ancestors is whispering to us, which becomes in other times louder and the vibes stronger to ignore. L’appel de la terre (home beckoning) is getting louder and becoming insistent. NOW is the time to go back, visit the land, feel its vibration, listen to what it has to say, embrace all that it offers, experience its riches, the sea, the food, the music, the people, the language, the air, the silence, the noise, the hidden messages, and go with the flow. The moving pieces become a puzzle that we will not be in a hurry to put together, rather we will have great fun assembling it without following any particular rule, just listening to the voice of the land, following what it says and not going against the current. We will forget about the DOING for a moment and just BE.
Hope, love, sense of duty were the operative words that led my grandmother to leave her home country, Madagascar. She fell in love, married my grandfather who was a combatant from WWII who was posted in Tananarivo, Madagascar, after the war. They had few children, my mother, my aunt and uncle, and when time came for my grandfather to return to his home country, The Republic of Guinea in West- Africa, she left her life as she has known it, to be with her husband and children. I cannot imagine how though that decision might have been for her to leave behind her loved ones, her culture, family, friends, language a great part of her identity, and all that in the name of love and duty. Going back to my grandmother’s home and birth country as an adult will be my way of honoring her courage, sense of selflessness, resilience and love for the family she had created with my grandfather. The last time I was there, I was five years old. I experienced Antananarivo (the capital city) through the eyes of a child. This time around I will be with my goddaughter who is turning 10 this year, and this will give us both the opportunity to get in touch with a part of our root, honor those who came before us, exhibited so much courage and maybe we could take a page out of their book to create memories and have loads of fun doing it. After all what’s life without fun right? We will eat romazava and vari. The latter is a dish that consists of greens, zebu meat (hump cattle), tomatoes, and onions, typically accompanied by a portion of rice (vari in Malagasy). We will visit its beautiful beaches, the countryside, ride the taxi-brousse (main mode of transportation) as way of getting around. While there, will be sure to enjoy whatever is in season in terms of fruits and vegetables in addition to the main dish romazava. We will listen to local music, which is highly melodic and distinguishes itself from many traditions of mainland Africa. Reading also will be high on our list to better understand the culture. Finally reconnecting with family will be the glue that brings it all together and give us that sense of anchoring and belonging. Madagascar, here we come!