My travels will soon take me to the grand continent of Africa. I am humbled by and grateful that this opportunity presented itself to me. I used to dream of traveling to Africa one day, when I was graduating college and considering serving in the Peace Corp. At the time, I couldn’t articulate what about the continent was drawing me. The energy tugging me there today is no less mysterious, yet my path is clearly leading east.
I will begin my journey in Guinea, which translates to “woman.” This is a country that respects the role of the divine feminine. Much of this wisdom is expressed through music – specifically drum and dance. I look forward to learning the traditional dances of Guinea and then incorporating that movement into my yoga classes.
I also am excited and inspired to be learning not one, but two new languages! I have begun to study French and Susu, which are the two predominant languages of the coastal region of Guinea to which I’ll be traveling. I’m finding that French shares enough in common with both English and Spanish that I am picking it up quickly.
To learn French, I’ve been working the the Duolingo app on my phone. It’s a free app with short lessons in French – utilizing reading, multiple choice, writing, and the microphone to help you learn the language. I can download the lessons when I’m near a wifi connection, and then practice offline. The hardest part so far is getting that nasal french accent!
I also created a notebook to begin learning Susu, which is used interchangeably with French. The language provides it’s own challenges and opportunities in learning. On the one hand, the verbs stay exactly the same regardless of the subject. After months of struggling to learn the many tenses of Spanish verbs, this is refreshing! On the other hand, the language shares no roots with either English, Spanish, or French. That means I will be relying completely on my memory in learning new terms. Rather than learn vocabulary one word at a time, I am learning phrases for conversation. Because there are no apps to learn Susu, I’m creating my own book as I learn. This is helpful as I can use my own words and illustrations to help remember the language.
Like Nicaragua, Guinea has a history of revolution and poverty. I look forward to studying the history and culture more in-depth. The people of Guinea love to play soccer, and I’ve been blessed to be the recipient of a large donation of soccer clothes and soccer balls! After vacuum-packing all the items, I am searching for just the right way to transport this abundance to Africa – be that by paying for extra bags on the airline (more than $100 each!), or shipping everything by post. (Equally expensive!) I still have a few weeks to figure it all out, inshala (god willing), a solution will appear soon. The donation will make many children and adults smile. Please click here if you would like to help with the transportation costs.
I expect to directly serve the people of Guinea while I am there. I also plan to work completing a curriculum for an upcoming yoga teacher training. This is a project I began while in Costa Rica, and I am eager to make this offering so that I can share my own yoga journey with others and continue the “golden chain of teaching.”
I will continue to share with you this wonderful journey! Sat Nam, may we each honor the truth within.