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Friday, September 23, 2011

First Week in Ghana

After an almost 24 hour flight (including layovers) I have landed safely in Ghana. Arriving in Accra was somewhat a breeze. I met up with my IFESH buddies in Amsterdam and we all arrived together. Coming back after just a year was.... special. On the plane, I kept looking at the window, marveling at the fact that I am thousands of miles away from home and I ain't going backing anytime soon.... I almost psyched myself out at the thought of it. I'm going to freaking live here. Great.

Don't get me wrong, I am so happy to be here and I'm excited at the experience before me but my emotions have changed from excitement to anxiety to disbelief. I'm here! I'm really doing this...

Whenever I would visit Ghana, I would never venture out. I would stay on the veranda and watch people. I wouldn't do anything without a friend or family's assistance/guidance (which is suggested anyway). Even for little things like going across the street to buy a coconut. I wouldn't do it. I was afraid. Afraid for my voice to admit what was already obvious: I'm not from here. I know you may think, "what do you expect Mabel? You're not a true Ghanaian!" I know, I know. But the stares, the inability to effectively communicate or know my surroundings was just so overwhelming to me that I would avoid it if possible. So coming back, alone, has done some things to me. It's forced me to do things that I just have to do... Like, cross the street to buy the darn coconut. Or hail a taxi to my hotel. Or order my food in Twi. Hmm. If ya'll were to hear me, ya'll would just laugh; I'm even learning to laugh at myself. However, practicing my Twi kind of works out in my favor because everyone else I'm with doesn't speak a lick of it. The little I know makes me feel like a true ohemaa... but I got a long way to go.

With every effort to move outside my comfort zone, I feel absolutely liberated from my mental blocks and grateful to God that these baby steps are causing me to trust myself a little bit more.

I better.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

To Sunlight Radio

I just wrapped up my last radio show at Sunlight Radio yesterday. It has been an amazingly quick and exciting 5 months at Sunlight; I am terribly sad to have said goodbye after such a short stint.

Speak Up! Youth Talk:)
Sunlight Radio is an online radio station that promote the Ghanaian community in the States. It is a part of Media Afrika LLC, which also presents the popular monthly cycle of The New Ghanaian newspaper. I used to write for TNG when I was high school. I ran out of things to write about so I stopped. So when I got the offer to host at the radio show, I was excited because talking comes easier to me anyway. "Speak Up: Youth Talk" was a show geared to young Africans in the community to encourage to "speak up" and share their opinions and perspectives of various things going on around them. We had numerous topics that included education, relationships, spirituality, and goal setting. It was a great show for me because I was able to turn my random thoughts into full blown discussions with folks around the world. Once people started calling in, they weren't random thoughts anymore but topics of worthy interest.

Emmanuel Gamor was my mentor at the studio, showing me the ropes and handling the bigger business behind the switchboard. He has been a friend, partner, and shining example to me during my time there. Throughout it all, I do not think I would have enjoyed it or looked forward to it without his presence. Adoma Adae is the show's new host, taking up from where I left off with even MUCH more to bring to the microphone. I am positive she will take it to new heights and have as much fun as I did.

Shout out to Sunlight Radio for giving me a chance to share my thoughts. Thank you if ever you listened and cared about what I had to say for an hour.

I'm honored.