I have now spent over a year of my life living across sub-saharan Africa. From Ghana, to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda. We often talk about the 'Africa bug' in terms that make it the vast, diverse continent sound like one big, hot dusty country. As we talk about our trips we sometimes find ourselves pigeonholed into these same cliches. But we really want to be educating people on the individual countries we work in. You see…
Africa is a quite extraordinary continent made up of over 1,140 million people, 58 countries, more than 3,000 ethnic groups and 2,000 languages. Just as in the UK, people from different areas have different accents, attitudes, they respond differently. Geordies are different to Scousers, both these northern regions differ from those people South of the Watford gap. These are some huge generalisations about the UK- and that’s just the UK! We have only the 1 official language and just 64 million people.
How about we take Europe- with its 58 countries, 87 ethnic groups and 60 languages.
You see the problem? Africa is not a country: it is a huge continent with more diversity than we in the West can possibly understand. We would never generalise about Europeans when we are so aware of the differences between even France and Germany! We in Britain seem to pride ourselves on how different we are from the rest of Europe. How do you think Ghanaians feel when we lump them in with Nigerians in a generalised definition of “Africa”. Did you know the Ghana v Nigeria football rivalry is every bit as intense as when England and Germany clash on the pitch?
With our upcoming races in Kericho, Kenya and Nkope, Malawi. We are not going to tell the story of Africa. We are going to tell the story of Kenya and Malawi…of Kericho and Nkope. We are going to create an intimate and beautiful understanding of the challenges facing the communities and the joy that is found in both.