My mother says all I know of Africa comes from text.
A book or the television screen, before it flickers into static. And open mouths
beg for another pixel or page to embrace
the bosom of a motherland darkened in the most predominant of ways.
A country with my skin.
I appreciate my time here in Ghana for not only globalizing my world-view, but also for shattering many of my Western disillusions. Everyday I tangled with a handful of dichotomies.
Abject poverty and excess luxury:
A young woman, no more than sixteen, cradles her legs by the roadside. Tonight, she will sleep underneath the garbage, even if just the ash leftover from yesterday’s burning. Head bowed and tucked; arms flailing to itch and swat away those who make meals from flesh. Down the street, behind the gates of the cultural center, a wedding takes place.
sparkling shorelines and exposed sewers,
I cannot hear my breath over the crash of waves smoothing over the Cape Coast shorelines. I tip-toe through the sand and count each crab that scurries away under the shadow of incoming footsteps. Their tunneled-homes will never recover. I take comfort knowing their translucence will hide the corpses too. In Kumasi, Ghana I tip-toe around open sewers; the water murky with spit and piss and garbage.
American and Ghanaian ignorance
Ghanaians believe what America has claimed to be since its birth: the land of the free and home of the brave. Americans believe what it claims Africa to be: a black motherland and white paradise. My tongue has grown heavy. I will neither deny my black American narrative nor misinform those who disillusion America. Ghana has taught me not only how to articulate my country’s destruction, but the importance of such expressed thoughts.
I do not claim to have fully digested the lessons of my experience. That will come with time and much more extensive thought. But here I begin, with a flight from my Motherland back to my homeland. Farewell, Africa.
Poverty Reduction in Ghana: http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/ghana/publication/poverty-reduction-ghana-progress-challenges
Contrasting Beauty in Ghana: https://buzzghana.com/beautiful-ghana-pictures/