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My first Trip to Africa

(1) In Jamaica

Growing up as a youth in Jamaica in the 1970's was a special time for me. The Wave of change was passing through the Caribbean. With the Black Power movement going on in America at the time and the people of the Caribbean struggling to find an Identity. There was a feeling of Liberation in the Air.

The Rasta man was at the forefront of that struggle. Speaking of a Black Messiah and Repatriation to Africa. In those days been a Rasta means jeopardizing your own life .The Discrimination against the Rasta man was really terrible .As a youth I use to watch the Police beat Rastafarians and cut their Hair for no reason and the population at large was not friendly toward the Rastafarian movement either.

Some how, with all these things going on. Something keeps drawing my attention to the Rastafarians.

By talking and interacting with these people. The seed of going back to Africa was sown inside of me.

Since then I was always fascinated about going to Africa.

Living in Jamaica, with the economical situation .It seems impossible but if you really want to do something and you really work on it .It can happen.

It so happen that my parents, my grandmother my mother and my aunt decided to take me out of Jamaica, to get me away from the Rastafarian movement. They never knew the movement was inside of me.

(2) Migrating to Canada

Eventually I migrated to Canada in 1979. Living in Canada for a while, with Africa still on my mind .I was a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, from Jamaica. When I came to Canada they needed some one from the Tribe of Reuben to fill the Reuben 1st position. I never hesitated; part of the function of an executive is to g to Africa and sees the Land .So when we tell people about going back to Africa at least we have seen it. That makes it easier to describe to what you have seen.

That is how I reached Africa for the fist time.

(3) Days before leaving

The days leading up to my departure, was very reflective and at the same time, filled with anxiety and anticipation.

Reflective in the sense that, I can remember where I'm coming from and how strong was my desire to see Africa. Now here I am preparing to see the motherland.

Then anxiety steps in; I just can't wait for the day to arrive. I could not sleep properly .I was just anticipating. Finally the day arrives.

It was a send off fit for a dignitary. Lots of brethren s and cisterns were at the Airport.

(4) Staying in England
I was in transit through Europe, so I stayed in London for two weeks. One week before going to Ethiopia and one week on my way back. My stay in England was all right .I was well taken care of by members of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. I passed through Brixton, down on the frontline also take a look at Buckingham Palace and take in some nice Reggae Party in London.

(5) Leaving for Ethiopia

The day I was always waiting for finally arrive. It was time to see the place of my Dreams. My way to Heathrow International was slow. There is a constant Traffic jam in London however I made it through. I got myself checked in. Then I board an Ethiopian Airline 767 Jumbo Jet.

(6) The Flight

The flight was splendid but long. It was Two Hours from England to Italy and Eight Hours from Italy to Ethiopia.

The Hospitality of the Airhostesses was superb.

They did everything to make the long flight comfortable.

I sleep I woke up, I sleep again and still it was like I was never going to reach.

The good thing was that, the Plane was very big.

So I could walk and stretch my Legs a bit.

The view from the Airplane, was spectacular .I flew over the Mediterranean Sea and then the Sahara Desert.

The Sahara Desert let the Mediterranean Sea looks small.

I could not believe my Eyes. I knew it was big but I never imagine it so huge. When I said huge I mean huge.

From Thirty Thousand Feet .I could see the River Nile, twisting like a Giant Snake through the Sand of the Sahara.

It was the only water source visible; winding it's way toward the Mediterranean Sea, from the high lands of Ethiopia. After flying for a while. The Captain finally announces to fasten your seat belt. It did not take long for the Plane to touch down because Ethiopia is 8000 feet above Sea level.

(7) Landing in Ethiopia

So not before long, we were on the ground. It is very hard for me to describe the feeling; I got seeing Africa for the first time. I was humbled by the vastness and the beauty of the land .The land just spread out and I could see the Mountain in the distance almost everywhere I looked.

It is one of the most picturous place, I have ever seen.

If I can use that word to describe it. It was like everywhere I looked. It would make a very beautiful postcard.

This was the Year 1986,about the same time when they were saying there was a famine going on in Ethiopia.

I never saw that famine.

(8)Time in Addis

I spend one week in Addis Ababa because I needed to get a permit from the Government, to go to Shashemanie. Ethiopia was under Military rule at the time.

Addis Ababa was a functioning City like any other City in the West. People hustling and bustling on their way to work in the mornings. Some people on the Streets selling stuff.

Addis Ababa remind me very much of Kingston Jamaica.

Only not so violent but I could see the similarity between the Ethiopian people and us Jamaican. Not very much adjustment was needed. The taste of the Food takes a little getting use to. I Ate steam Nile Perch (a fish) for a week and some little triangular Patty made with Grains. Those were the things I enjoyed eating.

(9) Shashemanie

After receiving the permit, to go to Shashemanie.

It was time to leave the City of Addis Ababa.

There were brethrens who live in Ethiopia, there to escort me to Shashemanie. We took a Bus. It was a Mercedes Benz Bus. Mercedes Benz and Volvo were very common as public Transportation in Ethiopia. The view on both sides of the almost Two and a halve Hours journey was unforgettable. Eventually we reached Shashemanie.

It is the Rastafarian Community in Ethiopia. It was totally different from Addis Ababa. I was in a Community were Rastas were everywhere to be seen. Where I stayed was very comfortable .I had hot and cold-water shower,

Electricity everything for a normal life. Shashemanie is Green and lustrous. There was frequent Rainfall. Some of those Raindrops were as big as my Thumb. A little stream can be a big River in a short time.

It was one of the first time, I gained weight in my life.

I was well fed and I was so comfortable .I begin to look and feel a lot better. There was so much to eat and drink.

It was like a feast every day. Food was so cheap.

Fifty Cents worth of Red Peas filled a shopping bag.

It cost 11.00 Bir for a live! Goat.

The people of Ethiopia are truly Loving and kind.

They welcome me with open harms.

My trip to Africa is one of those memorable moment. It will resonate in my memory for as long as I live.

Been to Africa and beholding where my Ancestors originated, is definitely a feeling of accomplishment.

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