Posted on July 02 2013
Hey there Pretty Birds,
A little over two weeks ago, I made my first trip to Africa to visit the Gabonese Republic (Gabon). I was invited to the country’s capital Libreville by the office of the Deputy Ambassador to attend the second edition of the annual New York Forum Africa (NYFA).
Founded by Richard Attias, the NYFA is considered “the leading Pan-African gathering of decision makers, entrepreneurs and experts to collaborate on the emergence of a winning, innovative, sustainable, healthy & leading Africa.” (NYFA). Speakers at the forum ranged from African Heads of states like Gabon’s own president, H.E. President Ali Bongo Ondimba (who I met!!!), economist Larry Summers, women’s charity leader Cherie Blair, beauty industry entrepreneurs Magatte Wade and Hapsatuo Sy, music exec Bu Thiam, NBA player Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, news anchors Sade Baderinwa and Vladimir Duthiers, architect and design star David Adjaye, magazine founder Céline Victoria Fotso and fashion darlings Alek Wek and Ozwald Boeteng. All very fascinating and inspiring!
Buzzzz, for an overall first-timer (Africa and geopolitics), I was on cloud-nine from the moment that I boarded my AirFrance flight. The activity on the plane alone assured me that the forum was going to be major from a business standpoint. There was lots of handshaking and mini, pre-conferences in the aisles (very exciting to observe). That being said, as it is with most important things in life, timing is key. I launched ATPB in November 2008, and as I am preparing to relaunch it within the next month, I realize how a similar trip five years ago may have had a different impact on me, and the plans that I have for the blog in the near future. I’m not sure that I would have been able to effectively apply the ideas that emerged from the forum to my blog activity back then, but today I’m able to connect so many dots that it seems like I’m having my own private confetti parade in my head.
In addition, like many people I know, I have been dreaming of visiting Africa for as long as I can remember. And to my delight, I definitely experienced the “Africa Effect” (as my husband calls it) when I landed. It’s an amazing feeling where every part of your body tingles from excitement and curiosity, and your senses awaken to experience the vast beauty of the continent, its historical significance to black people all over the globe, and to the fact that humans originated on its soil. With this first encounter an incredibly positive one, I’m totally itching to revisit Gabon and the rest of the continent.
But for now I have these images to remind me of my first trip to Africa. Please enjoy.
In the photo gallery:
The main road along the sea in Libreville
A roadside market
National monument in Libreville
A bench along the main road.
Kaftans and bags at the market
Samples of Gabonese wood, the country has about 400 different species of trees.
A carpenter above and a wood carver below, Gabon has a long history of artisans.
Masks and colonial figurines at the market.
I love this jewelry store sign
A fun walking toy
Jewelry at the market. The gold and green necklace is my favorite.
The beach at Residence Hoteliere Du Phare, Libreville’s top hotel.
A table at the Residence Hoteliere Du Phare. Have the plantains and the shrimp skewers, they are Gabonese specialties.
The beach at the Residence Hoteliere Du Phare. The view is just spectacular.