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Little Africa: The Black-Owned Travel Agency Teaching Tourists About Africa's Influence In Paris
Jacqueline Ngo Mpii is the founder of Little Africa, a black-owned travel agency that works to educate travelers about African culture in Paris through walking tours, literature, and events.
Founded in 2014, Jacqueline was motivated by a trip to the United States to shed light on the influence Africans have in Europe. In an interview with Travel Noire, she discusses the importance of her company in Paris and the recent civil unrest in the United States that has sparked worldwide protests.
Travel Noire: What inspired you to create Little Africa?
Jacqueline: I wanted to build something that connects the Diaspora. I spent some time in North America in my 20s. I spent time with people in the United States and Mexico that were Afrodescent.
I knew more about the history of African Americans in the United States after studying at a young age, but the story of Africans in Latin America was a completely untold story to me.
When I was traveling through North America, I was introducing myself to the others as someone from Paris and originally from Cameroon. People were so surprised and were like, “Oh my God, there are black people in Europe? I had no idea!”
They kept asking me to tell them the story and history of black people in Europe.
At the same time, it was a surprise for me to discover black people in Mexico and I realized we didn’t know the history of each other. I realized they didn’t learn our story in Europe and we didn’t learn about the oversight across the Atlantic.
Travel Noire: Tell us more about how you turned that realization to a travel company.
Jacqueline: My dream in 2014 was to create a black travel agency that would take people around to all these places to experience and learn more about all those different influences outside of the continent.
I realized that it would take a lot financially to do it in multiple places.
So, what I did was focus only on one city to have lay the groundwork and to tell the story from one city. By chance, that city is Paris, one of the most visited cities in the world.
Travel Noire: What would you say is the significance of your travel agency to the community and tourists?
Jacqueline: There are so many story stories out there that haven’t been told.
The stories and history we do know of Afrodescent are limited through literature, books, and conferences. I just felt that it’s important to learn by discovering, sharing, and enjoying experiences at the same time.
I feel memories have a bigger impact on people’s lives.
Travel Noire: Unrelated question, but your organization has been very vocal about the Black Lives Matter Movement in the US. Tell our readers why.
Jacqueline: I have been touched deeply by the stories. I also feel very connected to everything happening to Black people in the world.
Also, our company has had the support of African Americans since the beginning. We are connected a little bit more than the regular French-based companies. We are directly impacted by the situations of African-Americans in the United States. It was a personal statement but also as a company, a way to stand say out loud that we are in this with you.