6th June 2018
This past week Dr. Bowles led a group discussion asking, “What do you see as your contribution to Ghana?”
I juggle this question in my mind on a daily basis.
When clouds embrace furious winds and glide across the skyline
with enough force to clear the horizon,
or just the eyeshot of those at the end of the tailwind.
Gazing at the scattered patchwork of darkening sky.
Spreading themselves gray under the last rays of sunlight
to see how upward necks tremble.
Crooked with fatigue.
The repetition of disappearance: a chorus of weathered feet
pounding their exits into the cemented streets
paved, pot-holed and jagged, across copper-strained dirt.
Here, children dance against the silence that follows.
Atop the remnants of roadside vendors.
The pitter-pat of raindrops to wash away the rot of yesterday’s unsold fruit.
Until the mud hardens their soles,
and the storm is nothing more than a cloud with the perfect breeze.
To take it far.
-Maurice J. Norman
I awoke to a darkened room and a sky dim with the gray of the impending storm. By now the building had no power and the room stood still. A television glossy and mirror black. A ceiling fan suspended in mid-rotation. A refrigerator bellyful of spoiling left-overs. The shutters on the windows clattered beneath a tempest of furious winds so I decide to walk outside, prying open the balcony door. Open-air and elevation. I find comfort in these two elements and spend much of my time posted on balconies and rooftops. Gazing at the Ghanaian skyline I test how close I can get to the heavens. The poet in me wonders if the gods here resemble those birthed from the Motherland. Or how many lungs ache under the soil and silt of the Gold Coast’s promised riches. But as the ashen clouds dwindled the daylight, I watched the streets. Heavy rain, and elevation. Looking down I ponder how much of my American privilege I will allow myself to feel guilty for. The streets clear in a matter of minutes. Vendors tossing aside their unsold product. Pacing heavy strides under the weight of their headgear merchandise. Some pile into Trotros or taxis while some take cover in the nearby the buildings. Some don’t move at all. Crouched and still in the nearby corners of the dirt roads. All the while the storm passed through impartial and apathetic.
In conversation with one of my peers about our humble origins they said, “Poverty exist in all regions of world but presents itself differently.” However, simply coming from America surrounds me with a stratum of privilege. A balcony from which to gaze. A rooftop on which to stand on and admire the downpour of a swollen, bustling skyline.