We woke up to a weekend ushered in by continuous raindrops that made glitters on the tarmac and mud on the ground. It is not what we were looking forward to especially after a night of careful hair making for a woman of color. It makes it twice the task when you have to maneuver on your own, anyway, that is beside the point. We soldierly embraced the wetness as we put up tents for the coveted Festival of the Year for Foreign Students in Tohoku University; Tohoku University International Festival (TUIF). We kept on with positive energy and we silently whispered a prayer to God for a brighter tomorrow which was the D-day for the Festival. The weather man was not mincing his words and the rain did indeed continue nonstop for the entire night and the morning after. Still filled with enthusiasm, we decided to enjoy the raindrops without getting wet. We were fired up and were motivation was clear, not even the weather was going to halt our psyche. Our theme was cut throat clear, “I am Because you are” the World was because we were. We were home, we all travelled to our countries and brought the ‘Mountain to Mohammed’ in front of Hagi hall. The aroma from the foods filled the air, the warmth of the smiles from the world made crying in the rain a worthwhile course. AFAM (African Association of Miyagi) a body of Africans in Miyagi was represented in full colors, ambassadors from Kenya and Ghana were ready with their food stalls to bring African Cuisines to Sendai, AFAM had an interactive booth which if I should mention won the best interactive corners booth Award, I will come to that later on.
KUVUKI, a performance of popular songs from countries in Africa was on the list. The African students performed Malaika by Miriam Makeba; the song originally from Tanzania and Beautiful by Asa from Nigeria. The harmonious melodies brought the crowd to a standstill, the peaceful music was reminiscent of home, and it brought a silhouette of the setting sun over the Savannah. They climaxed with the latest Sauti Sol feat Yemi Alade song “Nowhere be like Africa” that literally took the little world gathered in Sendai by storm. People forgot the rain and were not cautious of the mud anymore. In Africa, we believe that rain is a blessing from God and so we embraced it. The world joined and danced to this beautiful African Song as they echoed that Indeed “Nowhere be like Africa, No Where Be like Home”. Truly, we are the Sons and Daughters of Praise, Dance and Entertainment.
As we came to the close of this year’s Tohoku University International Festival, I had a chit chat with this brilliant gentleman from India and he explained to me why AFAM won the best Interactive Corner team. “There were two competing stalls for the same category but the Inclusion of people by the Africans where they taught them how to dance to African Songs and flow to the rhythms is what gave AFAM an upper hand”. This was a profound lesson to me, we as Africans live in communities and people for us make the place. We treasure the little things like a warm smile, a hug, a bowl of soup and a jig. We currently live in a world with one too many uncertainties and we could all do with love expressed among ourselves in ways more than one. “When it rains on your parade; look up rather than down, for without the rain, there would be no rainbow.” Gilbert K Chesterton