Meet Dayana – World citizen, peace builder, wife and mom, who is realizing her dream of traveling through Africa with her family. AdventurousChica had the pleasure to interview her, here is her story.
AC: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Dayana: I am a world citizen and a peace-builder with a big heart for our beautiful motherland Africa and a great passion for child and youth empowerment linked with promoting a culture for peace through holistic education. I am originally from (East) Berlin, Germany, but lived for the last 10 years in Cape Town, South Africa, where I volunteered in local township projects, did my 2 Master degrees in Development Management & Social Development, and worked for various NGOs as a consultant, national coordinator and project manager, especially on children’s and youth issues in the context of crime and violence prevention through community peace-building. I am married to a social activist film maker, originally from Kinshasa, DR Congo, and together we are having our beautiful 2-year-old daughter. We are currently busy realizing our dream of traveling through Africa.
AC: What inspired your one year trip through Africa?
Dayana: It’s my longtime dream, especially after traveling as a 19-year-old volunteer to Burkina Faso, West Africa. The first time was in 2001, and then for a second time in 2005, where I volunteered in an orphanage and met other travelers. When I shared my dream with my partner that I met in Cape Town in 2009, he was very excited and immediately all for it! We started planning that we will take a one year break after work and studies in 2015 to realize our African travel dream and to document our journey through film, photography and a travel/children’s book to create more positive awareness about Africa as an uprising continent full of hidden potential.
AC: What have been the challenges in making this trip happen?
Dayana: Realizing such a 1-year trip through unpredictable and ever-changing Africa requires lots of research and logistical planning – which is challenging enough! But doing all this while having a very energetic and curious toddler girl, after just leaving Cape Town to prepare the trip in my hometown Berlin, is a whole different challenge, especially when having also additional time pressure through the limited visa conditions of my partner.
Then finding a safe route to drive as a family in our 25-year-old motorhome was and still is another on-going challenge. We had first planned to travel Africa starting in Berlin, via South Europe, North and West Africa south to Cape Town, but due to travel warnings (such as terrorism threats, kidnapping of foreigners etc.) but also lots of other convincing positive reasons, we shipped our caravan to Namibia to then officially start our route upside-down from Cape Town. It was great surprising family and friends there as they only expected us back after a year. Now, we are focusing on driving the safer route through Southern and East Africa including visiting family in DR Congo, the heart of Africa.
AC: Do you have a special theme when picking your travel destinations?
Dayana:The countries and route we selected are based on our personal networks including local activists, social entrepreneurs, artists and successful grassroots NGOs to tell their inspiring positive stories that are often ignored in mainstream media that portrays Africa rather stereotypically as the dark, violent, poor continent depending on the ‘West’. We also want to promote the African ‘Ubuntu’ philosophy´ (meaning humanity/human connection) as compassionate interconnectedness thinking on a global level by igniting dialogues and hopefully inspiring also much needed actions. Therefore, the name of our motorhome is ‘Ubuntu Makasi’, meaning ‘Strength through Human Kindness/Human Connections’ as the theme of our journey.