Since I can’t sleep during flights and I still have 5 hours to go, I figured I’d use this time to share with all of you. It will be random and I hope you don’t mind.
I’m so excited about going back to Ghana. Two days before the trip, I had babe help me put on the waist beads I had gotten there in 2009. I smiled at the memory of standing in market while an older women tied them around my waist. My perfectly toned tummy exposed for all to see and captured in a photo that was later added to Facebook for safe keeping.
In 2009, I was just about to graduate and start my post graduate career. I had a plan and direction but a strong desire to live without one temporarily. I had a great job opportunity but I dreaded coming back to the states. I just wasn’t ready yet. I had met some great people, partied like nothing else mattered and learned more about my heritage than any book could teach me.
The lectures at the W.E. Dubois center blew my mind. I only felt proud to be American when natives would see me and scream OBAMA excitedly. In 2009, someone had even made a song for the President that people sang often.
I will never forget the conversations I had nor the lessons I learned. I danced on a bar and in the rain, pissed in plenty of bushes and sat in awe at a chief’s elaborate funeral service.
Eventually, I stopped hearing “Abroni” and I felt like I was home. I lived for those cream cheese sandwiches on sweet bread and bowls of jollof. My little market girl made the sandwiches so perfectly and Nescafé along with square sugar cubes made my mornings delightful.
I stored palm wine but never had enough courage to finish it all. I laid in bed sick for 3 days but refused medical care as my friends came in and out of the room offering me water and crackers. The fan kept me cool in my tiny dorm room and I looked forward to the 5am chatter and noise that came from the market near my student hostel.
People don’t get my slight obsession with Ghana but they would never understand unless they have had a moment in life where they saw God is so many ways. Disconnected from TV and Internet, I had little distractions. My free time was filled with meaningful conversation, jokes and laughter.
And my mind was continually stimulated. I felt healthy and energetic. My skin was clear and I didn’t have any worries. I washed my clothes by hand one time and immediately became grateful for laundry services and other little things Americans take for granted. When the power would go out, we lit candles and kept going about our business like it didn’t even matter.
The Canadian girls were snobby and turned their noses up at us. Apparently, they didn’t want to compete for male attention. I felt complete outrage at the poverty I saw. I pitied the women at the HIV/Aids center who said it was impossible to make their husbands wear condoms despite their promiscuous ways. I learned to not be judgemental because the American way is not the only way nor is it only the right way.
The country has changed a lot since 2009. Some businesses are thriving and the population is booming. I told everyone I would be back and it’s a promise I’m glad I was able to keep.