For some African Americans and those in other parts of the world visiting Africa is beyond boarding a plane to see elephants and lions.
It is a journey for discovery and the strong desire to revisit history. Lamont and Adilah Muhammad from Atlanta has found home in Rwanda and has chosen to remain with their African root.
The duo are gifted in art making with a solid background in culinary and fine art. They set up a bistro café called Ikawa Kafe, located in Remera sector, Gasabo District.
It’s been four months now since Lamont and Adilah decided to leave America for good. They have lived far away from home for about half a century, but the story about how their great grandparents were taken across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa during slave trade echoes close to their ears everyday.
Adilah, 46, said:
“We have never had the ancestral DNA. My brother has done it, so we have some of this, some of that but we don’t know where we’re from.
We have lived our whole lives kind of missing that, not knowing what culture, what heritage, what African background we have,
“We just knew we were a product of the earth. We know that we have African blood, African skin. I don’t care what part of or what country per se, I’m just happy to be back here,
Lamont, 49, added:
“For us we just always wanted to go back home, go where we belong, where people want us to be.
We spent a lot of time just fighting to be black in the States. Just being who we are, trying to be accepted and at one point we just said why do we keep doing this?”
“We realized that in the States there was a ceiling to that- not able to fully and completely develop and grow mentally spiritually, emotionally financially, for that matter,”
How the couple left America for Africa
While many Africans long and struggle to travel to America, Lamont and Adilah left for Africa from Atlanta where they lived for 9 years in a blink of an eye and never looked back.
Rwanda wasn’t the first choice to start with. As a matter of fact, they wanted to settle in Ghana.
“We all thought we must come from Ghana,” Adilah said.
“On top of that, we were looking for a country that has leadership that will welcome us, that is for the people and loved by the people, because we have both of our mothers here,
“When it came to all these things, Rwanda ticked all the boxes. The other countries we were looking at would miss something. We were really looking at Tanzania, but you can’t do half of the things that we were talking about there,
“We don’t know about Singapore. We have never been there. So, for us Rwanda is the cleanest country in the world and that was very important,” she said with joy over her face.
“I’m trying to reprogramme myself, learning to slow down, learning to have patience, learning to just relax and just let it be and wait for it,
“Outside that, the people, the housing and the beauty of Rwanda, has all been a great experience for us. It has been a very easy transition for me.”
Happiness over everything
The couple were welcome and embraced with love and happiness. The beauty of the country has captured them both.
“I am happy…..I actually get close to tears, just looking at the beauty, realizing how this is a blessing every day. I didn’t feel that way in the States,” she says, adding that for them it is a blessing which they still struggle to believe.
“We needed that quiet peace of mind. We love beauty, we love art. To find out that there is a country that is really artistic was awesome for us. The youth love art, there is art everywhere, even the scenery is art.
“To find out that there’s a country where you can walk down the street any time of day or night and it’s safe was really important for us because we didn’t have that at home.
To find out that the security here is for the people is major,”
Returning to Africa was a dream come true for the artists. Jumping off waterfalls is child’s play. They also want to play with fire 🙂
“Now that we are here in Rwanda, we can’t wait to explore the Volcanoes, the mountains, the gorillas, the monkeys, the lakes, the villages, the people and everything.
I’m so excited about this. This is our home now. This is our base. We plan to explore more of that,”
“I literally feel like it has been home from the very beginning. Not one time did I feel like a stranger because the people are so accepting, open and welcoming,” Lamont said, adding that their mothers are in Africa with them.
It’s a full house! He added:
“We have our mothers with us, my mother and her mother are both here as well, which is very important in the decision making and to be quite honest, when we came up with the idea, they were ready to go before I was ready to go,”
“They were excited. They wanted to be here. So, it was so effortless. There was no need for convincing or anything. They were ready, desirous to come and they’re happy as well being here,”
By Elijah Christopher