Dear Editor:Johanna Hanink’s guest column on Nov. 19 falls into a time-tested mantra. What is the objective of the column? Is it telling Americans not to venture a trip to Africa? Since the 15th century there has been a long list of travel journals, adventure stories and films -Tarzan included- that present Africa as a continent far removed form civilization and always in turmoil. Hanink’s column

By Gus Bode

When there is turmoil in other parts of the world, especially Europe, one points to the specific country, large or small, be it Ireland, France and the Basques, Kosovo, Albania or Cyprus. But in Africa, a Rwandan conflict is an all-African conflict, so a conflict in the Ivory Coast becomes West African; better still an all “lucky one-in-five” African conflict.

While in her arrogance she may voice her take on Africa – people live there and have aspirations that are as human as hers- despite the sound and smell of a West African bus-load:”dangerous, loud and bad.” There is more to the various African countries than what some visitors want to see. W.E.B. Du Bois saw it in the mid-twentieth century, left America and became a Ghanaian.

To those who will visit African countries, you may or may not have “the privilege of peace and seatbelts.” However, you will meet people who are open and ready to share the little they have with you. Make a trip with the BAS program and see for yourself.


assistant professor/coordinator, African Cultural Continuities Study Abroad / BAS