Into Africa

blue and white wall with flower pots outside
Photo by SamIro on

Baroness Karen von Blixen, who wrote under the pen name Isak Dinesen, famously shared her life as a Danish expat living and working on a coffee plantation in Kenya in her lovely memoir, Out of Africa. In that account, she writes that she has a song of Africa that floods her with memories and longing and beckons her back to Kenya and she wonders whether Africa has a song of her. That book, which was made into a very vibrant and lush film, has always resonated with me because I, too, have a song of Africa.

Several decades ago, I married into a Moroccan family and that connection has brought me many times to this old and magical land where the Arabian Nights became a reality and biblical scenes from my Catholic upbringing were in every village untouched by time. After years of being away, my siren song of Africa began its call to my soul and once again I have answered it although I sometimes fear my own memories as I know so much has changed. The world is ever progressing and even in places where time has seemed to halt for hundreds of years, progress is evident. The Internet has connected the world and its people in ways we could never have imagined. Technology and advances in transportation, infrastructure, music and culture have all been slowly changing the flavor of the Morocco I first met almost 40 years ago.

Photo by Hamed Tahiri

I know such changes are happening the world over, although I suspect there are still tribes in many places untouched by these advances. But they too must adjust or disappear into history. To paraphrase the late, great David Bowie, time might change us but we are not able to change time. It marches on with or without us.

This trip our voyage brought us through the south of Spain and for the first time I saw Morocco from the Strait of Gilbraltor. What struck me first as the ferry pulled into the Port of Tangier was the wind turbines, lazily turning on the hills above the port. New roads were being forged with new equipment and solar panels graced the roofs of old buildings. Morocco is indeed moving into the 21st century. Trains move at lightening speed connecting ancient cities faster then ever. The Marrakesh Express is truly one now, not the slow rambling train I first road to that beautiful desert oasis many years ago. And yet so much has stayed the same. In the magical city of Chefchaouen, I saw rugs being woven in the old way, women washing clothes at the mountain spring, wood panels carved meticulously by hand with old tools and a vibrant spice market mixed with wares for tourists hungry for the charms of the country. There is a dichotomy of old and new sometimes causing confusion but change is always so.

Photo by Alexis Tahiri

I imagine Karen Blixen felt the same about her beloved Kenya. She could see the changes coming to Africa, much of it imposed by the rich expats who refused to give up their luxuries in the hot African sun and indeed by her own attempts to grow coffee. But life is nothing if not change. It’s not right to hold onto that which must be let go.

And so my own song of Africa changes too. The cooing of the doves outside my window in the morning remind me that peace can come to me if I wish it. That I have the chance to enjoy yet another day of the life I have been gifted with, mindful of my loved ones whose days on earth have ended. In the words of the woman who inspired this post, “God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road”. It’s a lesson I often forget in my tendencies to worry about the future and fret about the past.

man wearing blue top holding brown string instrument
Photo by Nicolas Postiglioni on

Today is a Sunday, a holy day in so many ways. A neighbor is celebrating a wedding or a birth and the melodic, seductive strains of the Arabic music and singing float across the garden walls. The palm trees sway in response and so do I. My song of Africa. Mint tea and sizzling meats, simmering vegetables and spices, a call to prayer from the mosque. I will let my song keep writing itself, growing and changing its seductive strains that speak to my heart and soul. I suspect Karen Blixen did the same.

Photo by Me

26 Comments Add yours

  1. yogafusionfit says:

    This is a beautiful piece about how you made a connection with your own life and the life of the author that you wrote about, Baroness Karen von Blixen.
    I think that it is amazing that you have been able to see and be a part of another culture to experience its history and rising future.
    One of my favorite elements of this particular post is the pictures. They capture a whole other world and the beauty and colors and lifestyle so eloquently.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mom2times says:

      Thank you so much!


  2. Sam Space says:

    Africa seems amazing with the wildlife. I’ve always wanted to visit and go on a mission trip to places in need so I can help. I love the pictures.

    Keep producing great content!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lou says:

    Thank you darling Tina … enjoy!!! Love, Lou xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pernille says:

    This post is awesome, and so well written! Loved the pictures, it really sets the mood.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Britt K says:

    This sounds incredible – I haven’t been to Morocco but your descriptions and pictures paint a picture of somewhere I definitely need to see at least once in my life!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mom2times says:

      Thank you, I hope you make it some day!


  6. This is so beautifully written. I felt like I am there with you rediscovering Morocco. I want to return to Morocco one day and visit desert and get lost in medinas, see the coast, eat all the wonderful food…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mom2times says:

      Thank you, I hope that you do!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. fluxingwell says:

    Your writing is so poetic. I love the way you describe your changing impressions of Morocco. I’ve never been there, but I’ll pin this to my travel board n Pinterest in the hopes that I’ll go one day. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ellieslondon says:

    This post is genuinely lovely – the pictures are so great. I would like to visit Morocco – mainly for the food! 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This was such a joy to read – your writing is so immersive and beautiful. This post came at the perfect time too as I’m visiting Marrakech at the end of this month so it’s made me even more excited to experience the culture and beauty of Morocco. Thanks for sharing your experience x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mom2times says:

      Thank you. I love Marrakech, one of my favorite cities. Have a great trip!


  10. Sounds like such an incredible l place. The photos in your writing speak volumes alone x

    Liked by 1 person

  11. glowsteady says:

    I love how you drew the parallels between your own experiences, it made the piece much easier to connect to. This was a really interesting read x


    Liked by 1 person

  12. This was so beautifully written. You have such rich culture in your life! I’ve never been to Morocco but I certainly want to x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mom2times says:

      Thanks, I hope you get there!


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