Home at last

Two sisters revisit their past on a trip across the globe to Lomé, Africa


Photo courtesy of Lauraine Komla-Ebri

Gathering among her relatives, senior Lauraine Komla-Ebri shares an African dish called Fufu, which is native to her home country, Lomé. After an absence lasting over 10 years, Komla-Ebri revisits her childhood home with numerous family members who traveled from Italy and France.“This trip made me happy in many different ways,” Koma-Ebri said. “Getting to see family I haven’t seen in years and revisiting where I used to live and go to school was like a distant happy memory.”

Samantha Vojslavek, Features Editor

On a trip to revisit her childhood home of Lomé, Africa, sophomore Manuella Komla-Ebri reunited with distant family members from countries stretching around the world. After enduring a 19 hour plane ride, Komla-Ebri stepped foot where she grew up for the first time in over 10 years. Refamiliarizing herself with her childhood home, Manuella Komla-Ebri was reunited with distant family members, including cousins from Italy and France.

Komla-Ebri’s environment growing up included contrasting factors which differed from most American lifestyles. These differences vary from communication to the diverse foods made and eaten during her time in Africa. Resembling the language spoken throughout her childhood, Komla-Ebri spoke French when interacting with her family during her visit this summer. Because of a slight language barrier the first couple days, some adjusting was needed in order for everyone to communicate together. Food such as Fufu, a yam dish served with side sauces, where Komla-Ebri’s culture was implemented in every meal they shared. 

“This trip meant a lot to me because it was a chance for me to see my family members from outside the U.S. again,” Komla-Ebri said. “So much time has passed since our last visit and it felt really good to connect and see everyone again.”

Manuella’s sister, senior Lauriane Komla-Ebri, traveled with her little sister who experienced this memorable trip beside her. Attending two weddings and three large birthday celebrations, visiting various monuments and even her old elementary school, the Komla-Ebri sisters remained busy throughout their two weeks spent in Africa. 

“I remember life being chaotic but memorable at the same time,” Lauraine Komla-Ebri said. “Life was exactly as I remembered it but a bit smaller because the world seemed so big when I was little and living there.”

In hopes of displaying how his years spent living in Africa were to his children, their father Kossikuma Komla-Ebri introduced them to his hometown, Tsévié, where he met his wife. Visiting her parents’ hometowns and learning about their lives before they moved to America was an excellent opportunity to connect their childhood experiences with their parents 

“Going back home made us relive our childhood and remember all the good times with our old family and friends while we were away in the states,” Kossikuma Komla-Ebri said. “I just wanted the girls to know where they came from and their culture because it is a part of who they are.” 

Both girls seek future opportunities to better their connections among the loved ones they scarcely see face-to-face. With unofficial plans of returning home to remain connected with their family, the Komla-Ebri sisters hope to reunite together again in Lomé every two years. Until then, both sisters will maintain contact with their family to the best of their abilities and hold onto the memories created within the place they can always call home.