Friday, June 22, 2007

Getting peopleized

Title: Discovering Africa!
Category: Personal

Intro: Since joining MyBlogLog, I have quickly got to know a number of web people - most of them with a deep interest in Africa. One of them is Szavanna, a Hungarian music lover currently living in South Africa. She discovered one of my posts and then submitted an article to the Beautiful Africa Carnival. As she was into doing interviews through Peopleized, she asked me if she could interview me. As I had to join first in order to answer any questions, I decided to beat her to it, interviewing her before she had the time to interview me. So here's my very first shot at peopleizing!

1. Question: How did you first discover Africa?

Hi there - this was a surprise! Thanks for asking - let me think, probably started through Arabic - since that is what I started to study while I was still in musical high-school. I did an intensive course - Classical Arabic for beginners.I thought this was a perfect thing to spend my holiday with. I loved the language, the letters, and I also met people from Yemen who introduced me to national dishes, music and I think this started it all. I was 19.

2. Question: What did you think about it then? Did it live up to your expectations?

I thought all the things that people think when they haven't been to a place.

I thought of black people with colorful dresses, huts, sun, palm trees, elephants etc. I only arrived in Tunis in 1995 - before that I met a lot of people from many African countries - Mali, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana etc. - and I never stopped asking them questions - so by the time I arrived in Tunis - I had a much better picture than what had initially. Still the real experience is always different from what you have in your head. And I liked it. I really enjoyed my stay in Tunis, I felt home.

3. Question: You've been in Africa for quite a while now. What stands out as the heights?

Heights - you mean positive things?

Well - I have been travelling around Europe, USA, and I didn't like the commercialisation, the big shopping malls, the material aspects of all of that. I always thought something is "wrong" with the "first world".

I thought I had to carry on and see places and people that live closer to each other, to nature, have a different outlook on things. I definitely think that I have so much to learn from this continent - I feel I haven't even started. So the heights - well music and rhythm and how art is present in daily life - I feel the cultures and music is so much source of knowledge about vital things.

Apart from that I am not sure if I can explain - but definitely there is something about Africa that draws me - I am really not sure why.

4. Question: What has been the most frustrating about the vast continent?

Frustrating - life in South Africa is not easy - the crime is shocking here - not only frustrating but scary - this situation also frustrates me becuase it makes people feel afraid of the others on the street, it also stops social interactions on many levels - which is what I came for - to learn from the people.

5. Question: How long do you think you'll be staying?

I don't think I am going anywhere :-) I haven't even started learning - so I will probably stay for a long long time :) Thanks so much for the interview - (I feel really important :-) looking forward to your thoughts on these answers.



Fa Sy said...

Interesting! I know more about Szvanna now :) My cousin used to live in South Africa for a while and he really loved it. I saw the pictures. Its an amazing place, really beautiful, the only problem he had with it was the high crime rate. I would love to visit it one day!

Ishtar said...

I'd love to visit too, but there's one thing about SA that bugs me, and that's the division between rich & poor, black & white. I have trouble enough as it is being proud of being a Westerner. South Africa is a bit too much like Algeria in that sense, only difference is the native people didn't win... But just like Algeria, it seems to be an amazingly beautiful country! Most countries that have been fought over usually are!

That said, I'd better inform every one that Niger has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. I normally explain this as there not being much to fight over in my beloved horizontal country... :-D

Cheers! And thanks for dropping by, Fasy!


Szavanna said...

Hi Ishtar - Fasy! How are you guys? I feel like I go and visit friends when I log into my profile here at the OpenCafe - there is something funny or unreal about this - but the fact is - the NET definitely helps meet people that I'd never meet otherwise. Ishtar, I hope you like the answers - any more comments ? Is that what you expected? I am putting together the questions for both of you - I am not sure where to start. Thanks for posting the "Szavanna_story" on your blog - normally noone knows these things - it's funny that it's out on the NET :)

Ishtar said...

Hi Szavanna! I loved your answers; I think you did very well! Will definitively get back with some follow-up questions, don't worry! A question though: I was looking for personal posts and a few personal pictures on your site, but didn't find much. Are there any, and if so, will you give me a tip as to were to find them?? :-)


photogchic said...

Very cool that you know Arabic. I started bellydancing about 10 years ago and fell in love with Turkish Pop and all things Arabic. I always want to know what they are singing about and thought maybe someday I would learn. But then again, I had trouble with Italian, so I think I would really struggle with Arabic.