I love Africa, it is one of the most beautiful and intriguing places in the world, I think that if you go there and do not fall in love with it you may not have a soul.
On the other hand, it is one of the most dangerous places on the planet, if you let your awareness drop for even a moment you can end up dead.
I am not talking about "tourist" Africa. It is really funny to see all the "Mzungu" in their air -conditioned buses being herded from one
safe and antiseptic tourist attraction to another, protected from any meaningful contact with what Africa really is.
I am talking about the real Africa, the one that you see only if you live with the people, buy your food from the same market that they do, walk the streets away from the safe tourist areas, Talk to people on the streets.
Life in Africa takes place on the street.
All day people sit, meet their friends, chat about whatever is going on, do business, drink tea or coffee brought by local street vendors. Life in Africa is raw, in your face, real.
Westerners are often intimidated by this. I spend a lot of time watching the westerners. The Europeans are a little less nervous than Americans, they still get out and walk around back home. Americans spend so much time completely insulated from their environment, (House to car, car to store or shop, back to the car, drive home) that they don't know how to cope with life
out in the open.
And Westerners tend to freak when they see so many weapons openly carried. In the course of a couple of blocks you will see people carrying pangas, (like a machete) Staffs, war clubs, short swords, and the like (not to mention the various buildings being guarded by people with shotguns and AK 47's)
But I love it all, maybe I am just strange.