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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ghana, must go

I'm reading a new novel by Taiye Selasi, Ghana Must Go. How you read the title is up to you however. Ghana, must go. Ghana must go. Ghana.... must.... go.... ?

She wrote a meaningful piece on how she arrived at self-awareness by her travels in western Africa.

Folks ask me, how was Ghana? Do you ever see yourself living there? 

Yes, I do.

Like Selasi put in her article, being in Ghana allowed me to create an experience of my own. Not the experiences of my parents but one embarked by me, learned by myself. Living, working, being in Ghana allowed me to have my own version of home which came so naturally, quite immediate upon my arrival there. I believe, because, I already decided that I was going to take myself along on that trip. I was going  to be the quirky, corny, passionate, loving Mabel I was in the States; who I am in VA was going to be the same person in Ghana, just with a change of scenery. I made up in my mind that I was going to treat the trip as if I was truly going home. Not a visit, not a excursion, home.

What I think is hard for most American bred Africans is facing the question of who am I? when embarking on such a journey. Who are we when we return home? How much of our selves are we taking back? Are we selective in how we portray ourselves on African soil? Do we return as the prodigal daughter, the visitor, the criticizer, the outsider? 

I feel, to make the most out of your experience, you need to bring all of your self when you go back home. Don't be partial. As you laugh, listen, work, visit, learn in the States, be that when you return home. I notice people complain about going back to Ghana because they couldn't wear their natural hair without getting the stares, couldn't stand the sun, couldn't take pictures they way they wanted to, their family wouldn't let them explore the way they desired. Was scared of the water, mosquitoes, family curses. Couldn't handle the traffic, the backwards way of thinking, the slowness. 

Shut up.

And just be. Go home and enjoy being home. Stop looking from the outside, as a creator of your experiences. Try being the creation of your surroundings and enjoy it. It will be home to you as well.


Anonymous said...

Was this for me Mabe? lol. Well put. Thanks to this, maybe my visit next year will be epic.

Amma Mama said...

I need to read this book! What you said was true,to "shut up and just be".
In 2006,at 18, I went to Ghana & all I did was complain and murmur. I was mean and very cold. It was a bad experience and I vowed never to visit Ghana again and my mom vowed never to pay for my ticket again. Horrible trip but I was to blame {}. I am so glad I changed and matured.
I've been back twice since my 06 disaster!
I appreciate Ghana so much more now, I really do :-)

Ama Kyei said...

@ Yedei-- not you ooo! lol, just for everyone who ever held their identity with Africa in question...You will love every inch of Ghana upon your return, trust me. And it will be even more epic with your family in two. Just take your malaria drugs, lol:)

@ Amma- My first time in Ghana was a bore. I was 15 and was terrified and bored with the idea of going there. I didn't do a damn thing but I was so happy and in love with the country. It takes time, I suppose, to accept the place, esp. for a teenager. I'm glad you come to that happy medium with Ghana-- it's a swell place, really!

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