Chapter One

As an avid traveler, Noelle despised getting to the airport early. She was a walk through security and straight to boarding kind of girl. She prided herself in only missing one flight ever in life and that was in college when she was still learning the ropes. But this was different. First, it was an international trip, and second, it was the day after Christmas. Third, she was meeting her sister on the other side. Even with CLEAR and Global Entry, she didn’t want to take any chances, especially when she thought of hearing her sister’s mouth. Not only was she there early, she had time to grab a bite and a cocktail in the Delta lounge, which was exceptionally crowded that day. “Attention passengers on Delta flight 0156 en route to Accra. Boarding will begin shortly at gate C2,” said the announcer. Noelle quickly gathered her things and headed to the gate, brimming with anticipation.

The plane was packed to capacity, which usually would’ve annoyed her, but on this flight she didn’t seem to mind. She thoroughly wiped down her seat, tv screen and tray table before sitting down to affix her mask. As someone who traveled often, she was a stickler for health and hygienic practices. “This shit look like Soul Plane!” a passenger exclaimed as the whole section erupted into laughter. It was true, the entire plane was filled with beautiful, smiling Black faces, most of whom were traveling to the continent of Africa for the first time. The energy was alive and buzzing, even at 11 p.m. for this redeye flight, because everyone was headed to Ghana for the 2019 Year of Return. The Ghana Department of Tourism was branding the 400-year anniversary of the first transatlantic slave trade off the shores of West Africa with a lineup of events welcoming diasporans returning to the continent to connect with their roots. 

After seeing a social media post from an influencer who detailed her trip to Accra earlier in the year, Noelle and her younger sister, Ryan, booked their trip through a reputable travel group, Kate Lynn & Adwoa, led by Ghanaian-American Mimi Aba London. For 8 days and 7 nights, they would tour the country eating the local food, soaking in the culture they’d only barely read about in books and partying alongside the locals thanks to Accra’s sprawling nightlife. Based on the itinerary and pre-trip calls with the group, Noelle and Ryan Davenport were too excited to experience the culture, history and pride of Ghana. Having traveled to Morocco together the year before, they knew this upcoming trip to the Motherland would be totally different. Noelle buckled her seatbelt and said a silent prayer before takeoff. She had no idea just how much this trip would change her life.

Song: Window Seat, Erykah Badu

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