Today was engorged with wonder. It was truly awesome. We began bright and early at Giza—the pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkare. Khufu’s is the Great Pyramid—the largest in the world.
Getting off the bus and seeing that pyramid in front of me moved me. I was speechless and a bit emotional to stand in the glory of my people. I touched the every block on the way up. And we didn’t just climb the pyramid; we journeyed into its core, the burial chamber. After crouching, climbing, crawling, we stood in the airtight chamber. There the hints of claustrophobia I had been feeling on the way in reached the hilt, so I crouched down at the back of the room and told myself, “This is important, you can breathe, and you’re fine.” And then, Dr. Carr broke out in “Lift Ev’ry Voice.” And we sang like it was us who “trodded the stony road.” Some white people seemed awed and clapped. I was fine after that, but I chose not to go into Khafre’s pyramid, which is smaller.
We then went to see the Sphinx. It is smaller than I thought, but just as magnificent.
And then: the Egyptian Museum. My God. Hordes and hordes of artifacts, from statues to sandals, to jewelry, games, furniture. Real mummies, with hair, and teeth. And please believe their faces speak of Africa. We walked for about two and a half hourse through that museum, and saw only a fraction of what it has to offer.
Before entering the museum, Doc pulled us aside to give an invocation and pour libation in memory of those that came before us and in respect for what this trip is about. We poured water for the Africans who were the first humans on the planet, and evolved to create ingenious and beautiful civilizations. We poured for the same Africans who, thousands and thousands of year later, found themselves kidnapped, captured, betrayed, and marched to the coasts to be sold to foreign lands, and tortured in alien cultures. We poured for the families that did what they could to survive this, and pass something of their old selves down to their children. We poured for our own parents and families who sacrificed and scraped to get us ont his trip, and finally, we poured for our grandchildren’s children; we prayed they too would benefit from our experience. I shed a few tears then because I thought about how blessed I am, and the sadness and beauty of the responsibility that comes with such a blessing.
I just want to do right by all the people we acknowledged in that moment. Ashe.