As my time in Ghana comes to an end, I must say that I’ll miss this amazing place. Initially I was so unsure of how I would find my experience in this nation. I was warned that I’d be referred to as an “obrane”, (becuse some letters are not included on this device from the Fante alphabet, this word is indeed spelled wrong). Obrane means white man/woman. Despite my prior warning in the orientation classes, I was still dissatisfied with the categorizatin I find to be incorrect. I was told that because I am from America, it is asumed that I am mixed with European American blood, especially since my skin color is noticeably lighter. However, I’ve never heard the tale of my family tracing our heritage back to white ancestry. Now if they were to guess Native American, then indeed they would be correct, but white I’m not so sure of. Considering the race relations in past and present America makes me feel all the more proud to be Black and not so keen on being called white. On many occassions I explained this and some friends understood while others did not.
I understand that I am a foreigner in Ghana, but the faces of so many people here resemble a cousin, aunt, uncle, even my own parents. I’ve even been asked a few times if I’m originally from Ghana and moved to America. So of course, you can understand why I feel obrane doesnt fit me. At the market, at church, on my way to work I’ve done so many double takes because faces seem so familiar. I’m not so sure one can understand my amazement, excitment, and joy in this discovery unless they were to see it with their own eyes. “Looking in the mirror” made me feel like I was home in a nation that I’d never been to before. In America, where I can face so many challenges as a woman and a Black woman (understand these are entities that have their own problems and are not always unified) it was comforting to feel a sense of belonging. It was a surreal experience to see the place that many of my family members could have come from. There was a connection I felt with this place and the people despite the different language, landscape, and lifestlye. A mirror can never tell a lie someone once said. I just hope one day the rest of my family can see the reflections in the mirror I was so blessed to encounter on my journey in Ghana.