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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Many Are The Plans....

I cannot believe this project is almost over! I’m a few months away from completing my teaching assignment and though I have done so much, there is still so much more I would like to do.  I was blessed to come to my home country but at times, I think I have used it to my disadvantage. Of late, I feel like I’ve relaxed a lot. At times, I wonder if I was in a totally different country and had to learn a different language and deal with a different culture, how would I cope? How would I work with that situation? I don’t think I would be as lazy as I have been these days. I truly believe I am in Ghana to discover more a background that I couldn’t have learned in the States. In that case, things are going really well. My Twi vocabulary has greatly increased and I take great pleasure in my grandparent’s company. Touring Ghana and mingling with those in the community have created wonderful, special memories. As for working in Ghana, I have done well. My students are doing great, but I think I should take more of the opportunity to work in the community, with local primary students and teachers and stuff. I will admit: I am somewhat of a creative person but I sometimes lack the ability to see through with my ideas. I struggle with motivation! (There! I said it Tim!)

I have a few more months in Ghana and making the most of it will not be in going to all the cool places, but knowing that I have made an impact in the best way possible. Then at times, what in the heck does that mean? Making an impact? I reread an post from one of my favvvveeee Ghana blogs, and Esi personally hit a soft spot in the old noodle. One comment she made stuck out: “You measure your success by assessing progress in the task you set for yourself.” Hmmmmm…..With this teaching project, I have made many goals, some to build myself professionally and personally. As I reach the final stretch of this program, my aim is to continue to make strides in the classroom, gain the boldness to do more underground work outside the assigned role, and continue to work on my Twi. I think constant reminder of purpose and goal-setting will keep one motivated, and hopefully, consistent.

I am the kind of girl who lives according to a plan. My roommate and I used to spend blissful hours “listing” anything and everything we can think of. I had my semester classroom schedule planned and posted to my board before the first term was up. I still have all of my daily agendas dating from the 12th grade (I only hoard “important” thingsJ). On one of my lists of life (lol), I planned out my college and professional career to tee. Amazingly, everything turned out the way I wanted it to be. Well, that’s because I worked darn hard to see them through.  But even when my plans became realities, I still felt… lost and somewhat anxious. I had it all planned out to the point that I couldn’t plan anymore. It was scary. I was teaching at for my choice school county, living on my own, doing my own thing and still felt unsatisfied.  I honestly was afraid that I was going to get comfortable as a schoolteacher and not challenge myself to do more with my life. I mean, I love lesson planning and Expo markers that muchJ So when I started listing again, I listed my dreams. The dreams that I thought would remain just dreams. And one of those dreams was to live in Ghana long-term. Possibly work in Ghana or Africa. You see, I always had a thang for Africa. I just always wanted to be a part of it, directly a part of it. So when I sought to work or volunteer in Africa, I was beginning to entertain another side of my heart that I had long covered up. It was too fresh and out of my plan that I was afraid to give it a shot. But I did, and I ended up here.  I ended doing exactly what I always wanted to do! And now, upon my return, I hope to go to graduate school to build upon the skills and knowledge I have gained in Ghana. My heart was always set on Teacher’s College for a couple of reasons.
1. I never thought I was smart enough for Columbia. I remember when my college roommate bestie told me to consider it in the future, I mentally laughed and pushed the thought away…..But it was not too far away:)  
2. TC has the only Center for African Education in the country, which I know of. What a perfect match. 

So being accepted to this school is a dream and blessing come true. My only thing is accepting the acceptance. Accepting that maybe, this is the path God is steering me to and has been for a while (in spite of all my mega planning, He left this one out!) That maybe, He believes in me more than I believe in myself. That just maybe, I can mesh my love for Africa and my passion for education into one big ball of Oprah-changing power! I don’t know if I can do Columbia. The price is just not rightL . It didn’t stop me from applying but now, I wonder if it can do enough to stop me from going. Without the support of a fair financial aid package, I don’t know if I can give in to the addition of student loans but golly, if you are a reader and if you can even somewhat care about me enough to read this much of my rambling, put in a word to God for me will ya? I’m praying up a storm over here all on my own. I just feel that He will make a way for me… 

Jeremiah 29:11 anyone????


Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Month Long Vacay

I had the absolute pleasure of visiting Lagos for a couple weeks with the boo. It was a great experience, though I was spoiled rotten in Victoria Garden City (VGC):) I can probably talk about my time there better than I can write it, but I can say, Lagos sure is unique. And yes, it's as chaotic as you've heard!
I think I can best describe my time there in one word bits...

Fabulous lace (okay, that's two words, but truly, the lace is like none you've ever seen)
Mr. Biggs Meat Pie
Social divide (rich/poor)
People Overload 
Power Outage
Balogun Market(sp?)
Ripe Plantain (everywhere!)

Nigeria was a nice time overall. I was quite sheltered but all in all, it's just a bigger Accra of sorts. More people, larger developments, more traffic, you know. I never understood why folks would like to compare Nigeria to Ghana, I assume they are both major representatives of progress in Western Africa but I can say, both countries have much to offer to its people and visitors in its own way. I was happy to experience it all for myself and can't wait to go back and shop for more lace.:)

Then we swapped countries and Tim got a chance to enjoy Ghana with me. I think we had a bigger blast in Ghana but don't tell him I said that:) We had a whirlwind of a time: we visited the Nkrumah mausoleum, hung out with friends in Tema, blissfully lounged at Anomabu Beach Resort, ate at Mabel's Table, visited history at Elmina Slave Castle, grooved at my auntie's restaurant (check out Queen's Gate at Stadium in Kumasi!), shopped, enjoyed company at my grandparent's house... it really was an amazing time. 

There were a lot of "couple shots" :)

Tim with his new African hero, @kwamenkrumahmausoleum

Tim's Auntie Mowumni lives in Ghana with her husband and she came by to visit!

Anomabu Beach #loveeeeeeee

She stole my idea!

Tim helped these men fish for almost 4 hours. In the end, there was no catch:(

Nanahemaa (my aunt) and her mom; she was a wonderful hostess!

Tim's new buddy
Good times;)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ghana's 55th Independence Day

On March 6th, Ghana celebrated its 55th Independence Day. I pray for peace, productivity, and prosperity as we continue to build our nation as Dr. Nkrumah envisioned it.

Ghana's first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah
The mausoleum was a wonderful and educational visit:)

Enjoying the marching celebration at my school's field park

They did it with such precision and pride, it was really pleasant to take part of it
Only downfall was that the students had to wait hours before they marched,
many fainted from exhaustion :/ 
Even some Nigerians in the area came out to support. #sweet

God bless Ghana!!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Next Endeavor


Friday, March 2, 2012

Love Outside the Box

A short article I wrote for The New Ghanaian, February Issue. I promise to repost the article on the blog and leave it open to comments. Enjoy!
Love Outside of the Box

February, the month of loveJ Staying in Ghana for the “love holiday” has opened my eyes to what is best described as a love fest phenomenom. Valentine’s Day is as big as Christmas with all the d├ęcor (somewhat on the gaudy side). And it was quite cute to see almost all the ladies adhere to the dress code of red, white, or pink. Though Valentine’s Day is a day dedicated to the celebration of love, most (ahem, women) seek out the day to bank in on gifts and extra compliments and fancy food. Watching Ghanaians join in the fun has been pleasant and humorous. I used to wonder, do Africans even believe in love? I remember my dad used to bother us with his annoying comment, “what is love?” (Say that with an deep African accent…) It just bring back the days of my parents gave me “the talk”. Did you ever get “the talk”? You know, the one where your mother sits you down and tells you about dating and relationships and love and you sit quietly and cringe every time she says “boys!” or “sex!” and you wish you didn’t have to stay around for this discomforting conversation, especially when it sounds harsher with a loud, African, accent.
Then mom begins to rant as if she’s talking to herself when she recounts the few stories when some Ghanaian child shamed their parents and the community by getting caught in their “hanky-panky”. The strangest and most frantic part of the rant however is when she goes on with all seriousness as to why it is always best to marry a Ghanaian. The reasons are not many but are somewhere along the lines that”it’s easier and you know”, alluding that Ghanaians are possibly the “better Africans” (Though all Africans think they are the “better Africans”). The most interesting part of the rant is when it turns into why dating a white person, akata, or Nigerian person is a huge NO-NO. Sidenote: I’m not bashing these other nationalities, I have no issue with them at all. And I am speaking in a very general sense in regard to these rants, so please don’t go looking for my mother. However, for a teen who was too shy to even look a boy in the eye, I always wondered where my mother got her information from. Even though she had a few stories to back her reasoning, they always seemed slightly unfounded. I mean really, what makes you think all white people are dirty? And why do we insist on calling African-Americans “akata”? And I know that it is wrong to pin them as murderous and troublesome people….. But the good old love/hate relationship with Nigerians is always staked high when it comes to intermarriage. Which, by the by, happens much more than we’d like to admit or realize.  I never took to much of this part of mom’s ranting at the time, I didn’t know any Nigerian personally. That kind of changed when I went to college. That really changed when I met, and began to like one.

Oh boy.
I’m not going to go in all the nitty gritty of my relationship life but let’s just say, it’s straight from a Nigerian film. No pun intended. But as I near the next phase of my relationship, marriage, I marvel at how I made it this far with my parents still by my side. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t threaten, shout, or worry. I got all of that. My parents are hardcore Akans, they love their tribe. To see their firstborn prize of a daughter leave their trenches and be lost to a Nigerian was probably heartbreaking and somewhat embarrassing for them to admit. But given the fear they tried to instill in me and my deviance from their personal choice yet breaking through to them, I wonder why in the heck do our parents do this to us?

Growing up in the States, we are widely exposed to so many things. The freedom this country wills to its citizens is liberating and at times, appalling. I assume our parents thought they could shield us from such exposure by cracking the whip at home. So in seeing how interracial and “international” relationships exist in many people’s lives, why are Akans so keen on keeping their children in the Akan sandbox? How much does nationality and background play in sustaining a lasting, loving relationship? I have met Ghanaian women and men who have married “outside the box” and are absolutely satisfied. I know Ghanaian couples who share the same satisfaction. Then I have met Ghanaian couples, usually older ones, who have been on the last limb of their marriage for since it began. So parents, who do you expect us to listen to? What do you expect us to do? Are we meant to avoid any other male who shows interest, care, admiration, and respect for us just because he doesn’t hail from Kumasi? Do we rely so heavily on family support that we don’t take a risk and pursue a relationship from across the border? And really, what is the big deal with Nigerians? I can only wonder how many true personal relations our elders have had with Nigerians to make their stories of wickedness based on fact, and not fictional film plots.

If you truly knew me, you will know I am not partial to any nationality. I love being Ghanaian and all that comes with it. I never sought out a relationship that didn’t involve a Ghanaian, amazingly enough, for a while it seemed that Ghanaian guys weren’t in the least interested in me. I was fortunate to meet a man that was all and perfect for me, he just so happened to be Nigerian. I never for once got backlash, distaste, or resentment from his household. I never experienced the wrath that I was warned about. I hope women would look at qualities such as God-fearing and honesty as priorities in matchmaking, not necessarily nationality.  I only think about my peers and friends who aren’t giving love a chance with other cultures because they fear the unknown; they believe their assumptions; they dread the turmoil that may follow at home.

I surely don’t have all the answers and I know only as much as my 25 years have to offer me,  so don’t brand me as a know-it-all ooooo! Sensitive as this “issue” may be, what do you say? What do you think about loving “outside the box?”

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Delaying posts... again

It's been forever since I've blogged but that's because sooooo much has been going on that I just wanted to enjoy every bit of it and stay offline... Okay, well, I've been online but not to blog... I've been a bad blogger, forgive me, eh?

So the good news is there so much to update: I've been to Nigeria and back, my man has come to visit me and we have been travelling Ghana on fast forward.
So allow me to enjoy these last few days with him and when I'm all alone again, then I'll tell you how I've enjoyed my month-long funfest of a vacation!