Thursday, February 24, 2011

Back to Africa. Waaaayyyy Back.

My Mom and Stepdad are on sabbatical. Technically. They are really just full-on doing what they have always done - caring huge about the state of the world and working to make it better through meeting people, being in awe of what people can do when they put their mind and hearts to it, and teaching others what they learn along the way - stuffed into an employer-granted framework of time and general expectation for ummm, something? to come out of it. So they are on a world tour of transformational leadership practices. Meeting, being awed, taping interviews, being awesome themselves. They've mapped a trek through their vast network of friends/colleagues turned family that takes them right through South Africa. Yeah, you heard me. South Africa. Dang.

You KNOW how badly I want to go back to Africa. Need to go back. My since-childhood impulse to go there made stronger, rather than sedated with one visit. People often ask me, so casually, "are you going back this year?" Well intentioned, supportive, interested. My reply of "not this year" polite shorthand for a dissertation of whys and why nots. Of course it is possible to go back. It's just money and time. Limited resources, yes, but not impossible to figure out. Truth is, I've chosen not to go. And in that choosing, another way back has opened up.

Two ways back, that I know are all bound together in a way I just need to patiently discover. The first is writing. I've been attempting to write myself back to Africa. It's all in me somewhere, tossed in a box underneath the stuff from my Dad's dying and death. The second is testing my DNA. Did you know that National Geographic has been tracking human migratory paths via DNA testing across thousands of years and thousands of miles? The Genographic Project has determined what they believe to be the original source of each and every one of us back to human DNA in Africa. One male and one female ancestor for all of us. An Adam and Eve that makes sense to me. The amazing thing is that for $107 you can have your DNA traced to key points on the path that your ancestors made from these roots in Africa to where you are in time and space today.

No bags to pack. No itineraries to book. No insurance, no shots, no back-up childcare plans. I'm going back to Africa and I am so excited to see what's there.