21 Mar I Was Not Prepared For A Month In Ghana
I was so ill-prepared for a month in Ghana, during Black History month, last year. It will change your life they said. It will be amazing they said. Ghanaians are very welcoming people they said. Akawaba, Akwaba, welcome home is what you will hear and experience.
I had been studying my family history and doing genealogy research as a hobby for about 15-20 years or so. I had always wondered, what country am I really from, who are my people? What ship did they come on and where did it come from. I had been at it for years. Ancestry.com had only given me a rough estimate.
Your DNA is a match for Nigeria, The Congo, Senegal. etc. I was left even more confused. Then for my 43rd birthday, my daughter bought me a DNA test from African Ancestry. I had seen their videos about people learning exactly who their people were so I was excited.
The minute I got my results, I ran to YouTube to find out as much as I could, and here was this guy from Sacramento, my hometown. Coincidence, probably not. He had a channel about his trips to Africa and the Art he had been collecting, an interesting lineup of people he had been interviewing. He even had citizenship in Nigeria and was a Prince. Wait, what; a Prince, seriously.
I binged just about every video he had, but what I kept hearing was Ghana this Ghana that. He and others he interviewed had been to Ghana. It was said to be the best place to go for your first trip to the continent. They spoke English, They were welcoming, the country is developed. What I really liked was that Dynast was not showing the luxury side of countries in Africa. He showed how people who still were connected to tradition and culture live, and that is what I really wanted to learn. I could learn about fancy restaurants in the US. Dynast would share fufu, stew, and village life.
So I saved my money and started planning my trip. All my family thought I was crazy. I would go alone if I had to. I needed to be there and see for myself. Eventually, my husband warmed up to it and decided to come along. He applied for our Visa’s and I did the rest. From my research, I knew it would be hot, but I knew I did not want my visit to be like an ordinary tourist visit; so I booked a condo for a week in Accra.
It is a modern, bustling city in Ghana. It was a nice little condo with Wifi & AC, a pool, a gym. I had heard of power outages and no water so I wanted to book something that I was used to, especially bringing my bougie husband along. This was our first trip and I did not know what to expect. Okay, I guess I’m a little bougie myself.
Accra gets busy like Los Angeles and knowing I wanted to just relax, dive into the history and the culture. I also booked us 3 weeks at a resort in Elmina. I wanted to be close to Cape Coast and Elmina Castles and spend most of my time in this area. Long story short. My time was amazing. The service was amazing, the tours were amazing. The food; fresh food daily. Laundry service all on the beach front for an entire month. Before I left I was looking for land and a way to move to Ghana. No Joke!
When I tell you I was unprepared for my trip to Ghana, I was so not ready. It was the most amazing, life-changing experience I have ever had. To walk with my feet on the land of my ancestors, to see the ocean shores from which they were stolen, and never to return, to stand in the cells that they were held captive. I was not ready.
Not only was I not ready for Ghana, but I also was not ready to return home. I missed it before I even left the airport. I felt a deep sense of guilt like I was leaving home, leaving my family, and when I arrived back in the states I fell into a bit of sadness and madness.
The reverse culture shock is real! for weeks, I was like, it’s not like this in Ghana. If I was in Ghana xyz. I always knew we were minorities in the US. But I noticed it on a whole other level for the first time in my life. I would find myself counting black people in stores. There are only 10 of us up in here. Everywhere I went, I realized more and more how much I did not belong. Eager to get back to Ghana. To learn more, to visit more regions.
I started my own YouTube channel, I shared my trip and photos with family and friends; anyone who would listen, and then it hit me. I need to make travel like this a part of my life and the life of others.
I am currently working on my Masters in Library Science and my Genealogy Board Certification. Helping others have healing and empowering experiences like my trip to Ghana has now become my life’s work. I am dedicated to helping us reconnect to who we truly are and where we come from and who we have the potential to be.
I look forward to a second trip to Ghana and to visit the homes of my Droll, Fulani, Mende, Temne, and Kru ancestors in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea Bissau. Ghana was just the beginning, but it will always be and feel like home.