When in Rome

I have always wanted to visit Europe, to see and experience the history and culture. However, first and foremost, I had to visit Africa, the motherland. Even before Africa, I had to visit Haiti, the land of my parents and their parents.

A beautiful tropical hillside oasis in Les Cayes, Haiti.

Traveling is an amazing experience for so many reasons. You get to see the history of a place like Europe with your own eyes. Our textbooks are filled with images of the great cities of Rome, Paris and London. Now I get to walk in those same places.  My parents always talked about how beautiful Haiti was when they were growing up, but I was always puzzled by why they never went back. After visiting Haiti a few times myself, now I understand both sides of their stories.

To land in Africa, West Africa at that, the original land of my people is historically and spiritually important. Had it not been for the Transatlantic Slave Trade, maybe, I would have never been born in the United States. Maybe the generations before me would have never been brought to Haiti. Maybe my story would have not been what it is today. No one can say for sure.

So as I walk three the streets of Rome I can feel its history. When I tour the ruins, I become curious about my own past. I appreciate the Colosseum, the Forum and the Vatican. But a little voice in my head begins to ask, “what did the Africans build?” This is all European history and culture. My appetite for my people’s history has truly been awaken. I want to see what my ancestors created and how they contributed to the world, outside the context of slavery.

This is what Rome has done for me. It has awaken my curiosity in a way that forces me to look closer within myself.

The Roman Colosseum is visited by millions of tourists each year. It is where the gladiators fought to their deaths and a symbol of great wealth and power in Rome.
The Roman Colosseum is visited by millions of tourists each year. It is where 75,000 people would watch the gladiators fight to their deaths, dating back to 70 A.D., nearly 2000 years ago.

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