Monday, March 30, 2009


My attachment to Zambia will always be part of me, even though it’s been years since I’ve lived there. Whenever I’m preparing for a holiday there I feel excitement and longing build up, happy that once again I’ll be “home”. This all inevitably leads to be being disappointed when I arrive in Zambia and realize that it isn’t really “home” anymore. Yes, it’s familiar: the long winding roads, the green everywhere, the houses with large backyards, thatched fences and towering trees. My dad’s hospital, the house he lives in. I know it all. But it isn’t mine anymore. Zambia doesn’t belong to me the way it did when I grew up there, when I didn’t know any other city other than Lusaka, and when I didn’t think about where I was from or what it meant. Zambia was home and it was just that simple. Why is it so complicated now? Could I ever go back and live in Zambia again? Yes, of course, and I would like to one day. But it will never feel the way it felt when I was little. It would be a different Zambia, since I inevitably would be a different me.
Someone once said that what makes you miss a place is not the physicality of the place, but the memories. To an extent that is true: I miss the gardens we always had, I miss Manda Hill, I miss the rainy season and the green everywhere. But do I miss the memories I had in these places or the places themselves? If I had all these places again, would they mean the same thing?


Mohamed Meabed said...

Communication between humans is responsible for the creation of growth
At the individual level and at the level of development of society as a whole
When the work of friends in the outside world
Thus, you establish friendships in your procedure
Within your mind, which always makes you alert of thought, conscience
We are not closed systems with the same
But we are created to be affected are those around us influence us by encouraging us
Lecture, as well as us, and we also
If people love inevitably feel comfortable and spontaneous when you are with them
How beautiful communication

Exquisitely Black said...

Interesting post. Funny, when I traced my African Ancestry to Sierra Leone and finally visited, my body knew I was home - even though everything I saw was about as unfamiliar to me as being on Mars. What's more interesting is I noticed a mark difference between what I felt in Dakar, Senegal to the way I felt in Freetown. Even more interesting, when I got back home, to the U.S. - I felt foreign, like I almost didn't belong anymore. I truly have no explanation...

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Very interesting, Exquisitely. I think it is too difficult to confine our identity to "nation states" today. I'm Egyptian-Dutch but grew up in Zambia, so what does that make me? I'm not fully white, I'm not fully Arab, and I'm not black which makes it difficult for many people to see me as Zambian. I'm African, European, Middle's so complicated!

Anonymous said...

First let me say hello :) I am a new follower of yours and am enjoying reading through your archives. I just have to say, I read a book about this exact experience for an African American woman moving to Africa for the first time to trace her roots and also live with her African husband. The book is called "The Dilemma of a Ghost" and I recommend for anyone teetering on the lines of culture and nation..

From what I am told, this is the experience of anyone who has lived in more than one country. Belonging and being an outsider all at once.. I am interested to see how I will feel when I leave America for Malaysia.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Hi Sarah Elizabeth! Thanks for your comment. I always enjoy reading your comments on Wrestling With Religion.
That's true - I think being from different countries means you will never really belong to one place, which can be both a good and a bad thing.
Wow, Malaysia should be so interesting! I look forward to reading about that on your blog :)