Today as we celebrate Africa Day, I want to embrace my African roots.
My family tree is interbreeding. Part of my heritage was on native land in America upon the arrival of the conquerors and another part came sailing from Africa and Europe.
My first visit to the African continent was in May, 2013. I arrived in Nairobi, Kenia before daylight and after over 6 hours travelling. I was sleepy and tired, but at the same time I was excited and happy to be on the land of my ancestors. This trip was an open book for me to learn about culture, geography, and history.
Far away across the Atlantic Ocean during this same month (May), on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua the Creole community, who has African descent celebrated Maypole. It is a tradition celebrating the beginning of spring and it’s thought to have its roots in European countries. However, in Nicaragua, this festivity is a mixture of European and Afro-Caribbean cultures.
Maypole is in honour of the God Maya Ya, who embraces the fertility, mother earth, and the beginning of the rainy season. During the entire month of May, each neighbourhood in the city of Bluefields and Bilwi prepares dances that are performed around a decorated tree with colourful costumes and some good vibrating musical rhythm. Games, food and drinks are also prepared.
In 2011, I was part of the production team of the documentary titled Al Son de Miss Lizzie, which describes the artistic life of Elizabeth Nelson Forbes, who is a pioneer of the Maypole dance in the Caribbean of Nicaragua.
I invite you to watch the documentary, learn about the mixture of culture, and feel the spirit of the God Maya Ya.