Sitting here writing this post, I am feeling a whirlwind of emotions. Today is my last day in Kumasi and it has not quite hit me yet. I feel so lucky that I was given the chance to have a fully immersive experience in my native country of Ghana. Being connected to my roots makes me feel part of something bigger than myself and pushes me to explore more of my identity. To be completely honest, I have not always been that comfortable being Ghanaian. This pride in my heart only ignited about ten years ago. I can remember fondly being in kindergarten and the whole class going around saying their middle names. As my time to speak got closer, I became very nervous and anxious about exposing my middle name. I knew that no one would understand or know what Nanayaa meant therefore, at that moment it would be better to conceal my difference.
“Crystal, can you please say your full name?” my teacher questioned me. I hesitated and responded with, “ Crystal Sefah” strategically hiding my middle name. She smiled back at me and later said, “ It’s okay Crystal. I too do not have a middle name”. I gave her a crooked smile and took a deep breath. Looking back at this moment, I have so much regret and question why I was so apprehensive to embrace my culture. Being in Ghana now, my middle name is said all the time because it is my day name and connects me to other people born on the same day. Even at this moment, I am wearing a necklace that says “Yaa”.
This is just one simple example of how being Ghanaian in Ghana makes me appreciate the culture even more. I am cannot put into words how proud I am to be a part of a country full of culture, fighters, and beautiful people. It took me a while to feel this way however, I am glad I went through tremendous growth to become the Crystal I am today. Throughout the trip, I loved helping my colleagues pronounce things, learn about different foods, and bargain for better prices. I have never been in this role before and I can confidently say it made me feel special and valued. Coming to Ghana was the best decision I could have made for this summer and definitely something I will never forget.
Ghana you have my heart.
See below for links about day names, Ghanaian culture, and people of African descent coming back to Africa