It was back in December of 2013 during fifth grade. My dad had set up a trip to go to Senegal. Senegal, Africa; which is on the western side and also where he was born. We were going to visit family members on my dad’s side of the family and it would be my first time I met them in person. It was also going to be my first time leaving the United States. I was very excited and also very curious to know if Senegal, and really Africa in general, would be the same as shown on television.
Usually, on television, Africa is portrayed as a poor place with trash, polluted waters, and poor homeless sick people everywhere. Honestly, I wasn’t convinced that image was true. It just didn’t seem possible for a country to be structured that way, because I have seen photographs of cities that looked well developed. I was looking forward to visiting the president’s house, swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, playing soccer, and exploring different markets, shops and tourist attractions. Another reason I was excited to go was because I got to ride in a plane.
It would be my second time flying somewhere and I always have enjoyed flying places. Besides all of this, it takes eight hours to get there; from Columbus to Senegal. I really didn’t think I would mind, since I would be on a plane. Soon enough, it was packing day. Throughout that day, I was just thinking about how in less than fifteen hours I would have been over six miles high, traveling six hundred miles per hour. Then it was the big day. I said goodbye to all of my family members and my father and I headed off to the airport.
We arrived, drop off our baggage and went to check in. When my dad and I finished that process, we sat down to take a break. For some reason, I was thinking a series of “what if” questions regarding attackers on the plane, just because of previous terrorist attacks. I knew I was most likely safe, although I just wondered. Our flight number was called and I walked on the plane. Right before I walked in, I did my flying routine of giving the plane a slap. I do this for good luck. Shortly after we got seated, the engines started winding up and I began thinking again.
Next thing I knew, the plane started rolling. Louder and louder the engines were roaring. The take off was my favorite part of the plane ride. We were moving like a roller coaster and shooting off the runway. Faster and faster we rose into the air. *** We landed in Senegal around six am, waking up after the eight hour trip. I was listening to the passengers behind us, who seemed to have just woken up, or at least the young boy did. I listened and out of the sudden I hear, this “HUUUURGGEHH, HLEEAAHHHURKURKBLLEAAHH!!! ” Followed by a sound of heavy liquid hitting the floor.
I knew exactly what it was. The kid behind us threw up. It was probably one of the highlights of my trip. He wasn’t the only sick boy on the plane. I realized in a few minutes I would throw up if I didn’t get off the plane. I began gagging from the smell and tried to hold it in. The smell was just so nauseating. It smelled like a mixture of rotten foods; it was very loathsome. We finally were able to exit the plane. Thank God, I was thinking in my head. *** It was the next day after we landed and we headed off to get breakfast.
My uncle, my dad and I were walking to the bakery down the street, which was conveniently close. Later that day, we went to look around the city. We went to the president’s house, which was white with high walls, and well maintained garden. The market was another highlight of our sightseeing. I saw a variety of fruits and vegetables I had never before, or tasted. For example jujus, which are a small brown grape like fruit. The rest of the day I went to play soccer, because there’s no better place to play soccer than in foreign country because soccer is really popular outside of the United States.
For the next rest of my trip, I went to the beach, took a boat to this island and climbed up the steps to the African Renaissance Monument. This was a statue of a man holding his wife, who was holding a baby who was pointing far into the distance. One of the most striking things I saw was at Goree Island. This was the island where slaves were brought to a large coffin ship and transported to the United States. It was shocking, because my dad explained the very harsh conditions slaves endured. For example, the slave masters would place fifty slaves in one room that could only fit twenty.
It was a lesson in African history. I thought about walking through the door that was called “The Door of No Return. ” This was the door that led to the entrance of the ship that would take them away from their home land. Finally, the trip had come to an end. It was time to say goodbye to everyone. This was probably one of the best life experiences I have had. Also, my prediction of Africa not being as poor as shown on television was correct. My dad and I were headed home on our eight hour trip. This trip was truly one I would never forget.