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Africa Day 2018 – Phoenix Park, Dublin

As for many years now, Irish Aid held a flagship event for Africa Day 2018. This year was our second time visiting. Africa Day was created as African Freedom Day to commemorate the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity, which later turned into the African Union. Since that historic event on May 25th 1963, countries around the globe celebrate this anniversary anually. Africa Day in Ireland highlights several charities which work across the African continent, as well as, showcases artworks, food and music from several African countries.

The arriving

Last May we were still relatively new in Dublin. It was our first spring here and we had only just started exploring the city. We had completely understimated its size however and had been determined to walk to Africa Day. 10km later we had arrived but were a bit tired. This year we knew of the free shuttle buses between Heuston station and Farmleigh Estate, so we happily took one of them. This year we also arrived much earlier, avoiding the bigger crowds which come later in the afternoon. While there were fewer people, we walked around, exploring the different market stalls. From charities, embassies to artists, there are a wide range of organizations represented. With the multidue of countries and cultures on the African continent, there’s something new to see every year.

The eating

Since we had walked a bit to get to the bus station, the stalls we were most interested in, if we’re honest, were the food ones. Our decision was easily made by the fact that there was only one stall where they sold plantains and we never give up a chance to eat plantains. We ordered Jollof rice, a dish I had heard much about from Nigerian friends, chicken, as well as, grilled corn for the vegetarian option, and of course our favourite, plantain. Once we had our plastic containers with food, we moved underneath the trees a bit away from the stage. This proved to be a good decision since the rain started pouring soon after. Protected by the thicket of leaves, we enjoyed our lunch. Jollof rice, made with onions, tomato and spices, is a little bit spicey but very flavourful. Naturally, the plantains were also delicious.

Jollof rice, chicken and plantain

The dancing

In each corner of the estate, there were also stages with various music styles. Our favourite however was Buffalo Soul, a Bob Marley & The Wailers tribute band. Rain may have been pouring in buckets but that didn’t stop the enjoyment of the music. We stood with others underneath the nearby trees and swayed along to the music. Instead of clapping like seals in our rain jackets, you could hear cheering from underneath trees and ledges of the building after each song.

Buffalo soul playing Bob Marley & The Wailers covers.

The developing

The SDG (Sustainble Development Goals) were decided by the UN in 2015. They are specific goals to be achieved in the next 15 years to improve the planet by ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring propserty for all. What we like about Africa Day is that the organizers highlight how the event can make a contribution to achieving those goals. It shows how everyone of us can help with these big goals in every day life. For example, walking or taking public transport instead of your car helps with Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities & Communities) and Goal 13 (Reducing our carbon footprint). Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) can be helped by limiting the amount of rubbish your produce by the foods you bring and recycling them correctly, as well as not buying more food or things than you’re able to consume. Most people having their tickets on their phones rather than printed also already reduced the paper waste of this event a lot.

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