Few things are more exciting than visiting a new city, and Ebony contributing writer Dream Hampton couldn’t agree more. The prolific journalist chronicles how she and her now 15-year-old daughter, Isoke, have been circling the globe since she was an infant and they first trekked to Morocco.
I’d always dreamed her first real, international trip would be a voyage to Africa. When I was 20, a woman I call my aunt and who is one of my many “mothers” and elder friends, invited me to Benin and Cote d’Ivoire. She’d been to the continent dozens of times since the 70s. The trip was affordable because she was transitioning into her second career as a tour agent and room, board and flights were deeply discounted. That same “aunt” invited my daughter and I to Egypt last August. At 15, I considered my daughter ready.
Egypt would not have been and still isn’t the country I recommend to people wishing to visit Africa travel to first. But my aunt, who offered to pay for my daughter’s trip altogether, made Egypt irresistible. I’d never been, so I’d be seeing it with new eyes, just like my daughter. Growing up in Detroit, I had no illusions about the complicated, sometimes racist interactions between Blacks and Arabs, so I had no expectations of the “homecoming” feeling I’d actually felt in countries like Ghana and South Africa. We were traveling to Cairo less than six months after the insurrection in Tahir Square. In fact, we arrived as both Ramadan and Mubarak’s trial were beginning. My daughter used to beg me to allow her join me when I fasted for Ramadan when she was a child, so she knew about this self-sacrificial period. Still, it was amazing to be in a country where almost everyone was refusing breakfast and lunch. Restaurants that would have only been serving tourists, were nearly empty as the month long protests had kept most tourists away. The cafes in Egypt were open later than they would be if it weren’t Ramadan, some well into the night, which made for beautiful midnight writing excursions for me while my daughter slept in the hotel with my aunt.
Read Dream Hampton’s entire article at Ebony.