As my hubby and I embarked on our journey to Cartagena, Colombia, with Abiri Tours, I found myself delving into a profound exploration of my Africana history. This experience wasn't just a trip; it was a return to the legacy of the Africana Diaspora.
Staying in an Airbnb in Getsemani, amidst a thriving Afro-Colombian community, immediately resonated with a sense of familiarity and belonging. Interestingly, the area was a location set for the “Always a Witch” Netflix show, and to my delight, I discovered that one of our tour guides was related to the female star of the series. This connection added an unexpected layer of personal relevance to my visit.
Our tour's cultural itinerary was both enlightening and deeply moving. In the walled city, with its centuries-old stone fortifications, the echoes of history were unmistakable. But it was our visit to the historic town of Palenque that truly captured my heart. This town, one of the earliest liberated African settlements, is a living monument to resilience and freedom. As I walked its colorful streets, I felt a profound connection with my Africana ancestors.
Witnessing the Maroon heritage of Palenque's residents was a deeply moving experience. The women, wearing their natural hair boldly and unapologetically, stood as living testaments to resistance and empowerment. Their hairstyles, more than just a fashion statement, were a declaration of identity and a proud assertion of their heritage. This act of resistance resonated deeply with me.
The vibrant culture of Palenque, especially the music, dance, and West African-influenced language, was a testament to the unbroken spirit of its people. Dancing with the locals and learning about their traditions was not just fun but a powerful act of cultural reconnection. The visit to a local family's fruit business, a legacy passed down through generations, highlighted the enduring strength and ingenuity of the community.
This trip was more than just a vacation; it was a journey into the heart of my Africana ancestral history. The deep pride of Palenque's people in their Maroon heritage was a mirror to my own pride in my Africana heritage. As a writer who draws inspiration from such profound experiences, this journey was not just enlightening but transformative. It reinforced my commitment to exploring and celebrating the Africana Diaspora in my work and life.
Traveling with Abiri Tours to Cartagena was an invaluable chapter in my ongoing journey to understand and celebrate the richness of the Africana Diaspora. It was a reminder of the resilience, beauty, and enduring spirit of our people, and I returned home more inspired than ever to weave these elements into my storytelling and personal narrative. If you’d like to see the pictures and video of our Afro Columbian adventure, click here to watch it on YouTube.