I came across this recent interview on vagablogging about Brook Silva- Braga, documentary film maker of, A Map for Saturday, about his new film, One day in Africa. If you haven’t had the chance to see A map for Saturday I highly suggest it if you’re itching to travel or curious what it’s like to pack up your bags and hit the road for an extended amount of time.
His philosophy behind the film is great and I appreciate his willingness to really understand and appreciate Africa. From my own experience in Africa, most people don’t go to the continent purely for travel and exploration but rather a purpose such as teaching, volunteering or interning and many who do travel are there for such a short time, it can be hard to really grasp what’s going on and why. I love his idea for shadowing a person for a day in different countries without focusing on the negatives the continent is so often known for.
I can also relate to the “safety” issue. People I share my story with are always very surprised I felt so safe and nothing happened to me. Recently, an elderly woman said I must have had “good karma” to be able to travel for 9 months without any problem. I appreciate the thought (considering she doesn’t know me) but I know it’s more than just having positive energy and heaps of common sense. To not acknowledge all the wonderful people I encountered is to discredit the locals who make each African country unique. If the people were bad or with ill intent, no matter how much “good karma” I had, I would have had a lot of problems. This is a great reminder of why the media isn’t the greatest for understanding another country and is one of the very reasons I set of on my trip in the first place: to be an eye witness on the continent without any filters or lenses.
He also highlights the Westernization of Africa. I noticed it too and now feel more confused about the complex issue of globalization, foreign aid and volunteering. Does it help? Hinder? The answer is neither black or white, depends on each situation and is quite complex!