It’s no secret that I’ve been MIA from my personal blog. I’ve been working, traveling the globe, and figuring out the inner workings of myself. I’m tuning back in and gearing up to provide some awesome new content. Here’s what I’ve been up to while away from the WordPress pages: In January, I traveled with my friend Miriam to Banjul, Gambia.
To give you a little backstory, Miriam and I met while I was living in Miami attending Florida International University–my junior year of college where I studied as a part of the National Student Exchange Program. During my stay, Miriam and I became really close, maintaining a friendship even after returning to Rutgers. A Bronx native but Gambian by descent, Miriam invited me to her vacation home in Banjul for the holiday season.
Traveling to Gambia in December/January is prime holiday season in West Africa. This is the time that many Africans from the Western World travel back to the Mother Land to visit with family and enjoy lots of rest and relaxation. This marked my second visit to Africa, with South Africa being my first stop back in 2009. Visiting Gambia was life-changing to say the very least.
I dedicated ten days to minimum use of cell phone and email, even in the midst of planning a very important GRAMMY after party I managed. I owed it to myself. Working in the entertainment industry, I often forget to take personal vacations. My life is filled with lots of work travel, but never getaways that involve limited cell phone and internet access. I was able to clear my mind, spend time with my newly adopted family (Miriam’s extended family), hit the beach, eat great food, shop, and even turn up. Africa is delightful. Contrary to the images we often see in infomercials, Gambia is filled with varicolored plant life, gargantuan sized homes, and beautiful people. Everyone embraced me, and I felt closer than ever to the root of the diaspora. My identity felt total as I navigated the lively streets of Senegambia and the sandy beaches of Serekunda.
The trip was so rewarding for me both mentally and spiritually so much so that I returned to Gambia in February, this time for business meetings and relaxation. While there this time, I had the opportunity to visit the Sheikhul Islam Ibn Tayimeya Institute for Quranic Memorization — a Muslim all-girls school in the heart of Banjul. All of the girls were wonderful and they welcomed me with open arms upon my arrival. I met with school administrators to discuss initiatives in which I can be of service to the girls through giving back. Over the next six months, I will supply the school with donations like school supplies, clothes, and food. Sign up for my newsletter–on the footer of my website–to find out how you can help give back to the Sheikhul Islam Ibn Tayimeya Institute for Quranic Memorization and stay up to date with my new happenings!