Africa is not a place that most Americans know much about. Not only are African history and geography rarely taught in depth in American schools, but the American media also contribute to the average American's perception that Africa is nothing but a "continent in crisis." Some African immigrants in Philadelphia express frustration about the imperfect knowledge that most Americans have about their home.

Other immigrants find that some Americans hold romantic notions about Africa that have little in common with contemporary economic and political realities on the continent. All immigrants become used to explaining where they are from, starting with the continent at large, and gradually focusing in on their country. They cannot assume any familiarity with the more than 50 countries that make up the continent of Africa.