It has always been a dream to go to Africa.  It comes from no easily understood place.  My mother and my brother are the world travelers.  My father and I have been fairly content to be at home.  It takes a lot for me to leave during the baseball season (and you just to have believe me when I tell you that it is just a coincidence that the first part of the trip coincides with the All Star break.)  But there have always been two exceptions to the rule, Africa and the Holy Land.  The latter I think is a pretty easy desire to figure, but even I have had little answer to my attraction to Africa.  Perhaps it is the hidden pull that the continent has on all of us as the cradle of humanity.  It is home to all of us in some way.  It is certainly about the people and the Africans I have known.  Their openness and kindness have touched me.  And it is all the more remarkable given the brutal exploitation the continent has endured from outside forces (slavery and colonization) to inside (repressive regimes, apartheid.)  We marvel, correctly, at the courage of the Arab Spring now turned summer.  There has been an African Spring for centuries now.  Yet, it has not dimmed the brightness and hopes of the people we are about to encounter.  Perhaps that in the end is the ultimate attraction.  To find a place where forgiveness is necessarily a part of the national consciousness and where hope chooses to soar.  Perhaps in the place where we all began, we will find something to help bring us all together.