Travel Series: Africa, Pt. II
Today we are returning to the international journey of contributor Kendyl Elliott, who spent last summer living and working in Ivory Coast, Africa. For the next three weeks, Kendyl will we sharing photos, stories, and amazing experiences from her trip. Part II: The Streets of Abidjan I’ll never forget my first time on the streets of Abidjan. This one city is home to more than 1.9 million people. I was incredibly overwhelmed considering my background in small-town Sherwood, Arkansas. It became evident just how much I stood out in the crowd as I walked throughout the market and heard the words, “la blanc,” or “the white,” everywhere I turned. For some, I was the first caucasian person they had ever seen. This was something I didn’t even consider before traveling to Africa. It was shocking just how many Ivorians wanted to touch my hair and my skin. Some asked for autographs and photos. I couldn’t help but laugh at just how strange that felt. The streets were flooded with vendors selling their goods and their products in the market. It was a one-stop shop. You could find anything from World Cup jerseys to snails for your next meal. (Yes, snails.) This was just one of many dishes I couldn’t bring myself to try. I also avoided fish eyes, bush rat, and an Ivorian favorite: fried termites. I did try duck liver pâté, or paste, on a piece of a baguette. I quickly washed my mouth out with a glass of Coke. I ate some of the best food I’ve ever tasted before in Africa, but duck pâté did not make that list. I learned a lot about myself during this trip, including the fact that I wasn’t born with the tastebuds of Andrew Zimmerman. I proudly lived off of baguettes, cheese, and french fries throughout my entire stay. There was something empowering about seeing these men, women, and children working so incredibly hard in the marketplace to provide for their families. It really challenged me and my own personal work ethic. They were working so hard for so little with so much joy. I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but I didn’t have to. The pride they took in their work and their families was evident and inspiring. One of my favorite finds in the African market was fabric— I couldn't get enough! The designs were funky and fresh. Both the designs and the prices were unlike anything you’d ever see here in the states. I was fortunate enough to have two custom dresses designed for me at a very reasonable price while I was working in Africa. Narrowing it down to just two types of fabric was an incredible challenge, but I couldn't have asked for better souvenirs. Every time I wear them, I get to tell my story all over again. Stay tuned for more from Kendyl’s amazing trip to Africa! Part III of her journey will be published next Friday right here at Hello Luvvy. Have questions for Kendyl about her trip, her mission, or her future trips? Email us at helloluvvy@gmail. Writer’s bio: Kendyl is a coffee-driven college student pursuing a degree in education. She plans to teach English abroad after graduating from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.