My first time touching down in the motherland was in January of 2010. I was blessed with the opportunity to go to Ghana for 2 weeks on a short term study abroad program with my university. *Shout out to my fellow Temple owls!!* The purpose of the trip was to study emerging global markets. That led us to visit several businesses to see how their operations were run and compare them to things back in the US. We also received lectures on different cultural topics and visited many popular destinations throughout the country.
Being a Black American and visiting Ghana is a very unique experience. Allow me to semi go off topic for a quick second. In my last post, I used to the term African-American because that is ole girl used. My personal label of choice is Black American. For the purpose of this blog going forward, I am defining that the same way I defined African-American in the last post. Now, I have no qualms at all with the term African-American. I just enjoy being and saying that I’m black. For me black is everything beauty, power, resilience, grace, magnificence, perseverance… shall I go on?
Any who, back to being a Black American and visiting Ghana. We toured 2 different slave castles: Cape Coast and Elmina. Seeing and hearing about the actual conditions that human beings were forced to live in would have a tremendous impact on most people, no matter what ethnicity or race. However, when you see firsthand some of what your own flesh and blood had to endure, it’s a whole different story. To see shackles, branding tools, dungeons, holding cells, the door of no return, etc. in person… it’s a feeling I can’t quite put into words honestly. There was definitely some anger mixed with some sadness mixed with some gratitude and wrapped up in a tiny bit of shock. The shock factor was not major because I was well aware of the level of savagery that I was going to witness.
I was and still am grateful to have been able to go to Ghana in the first place. That was a major privilege. I’m grateful for my ancestors and their pure strength and ability to survive such inhumane conditions. I’ve heard many of my peers say things like “that couldn’t have been me because I would have done x, y, and z.” Truth is, none of us know what we would have done in that situation. It’s impossible for me to attempt to place myself in their shoes because I can’t even fathom it.
On a lighter note, Ghana was amazing. The food was magnificent. There people were extremely welcoming. Ghana is known to have some of the friendliest people and they definitely held true to that. The cities we hit were Accra, Kumasi, Cape Coast, the Volta Region and possibly some others??? My bad y’all, it’s been a while and things are slightly hazy. We toured the University of Ghana, the gold mines, the W.E.B. Du Bois Memorial Centre, and the adinkra and kente cloth factories. We went to a monkey sanctuary, on a hike to the most refreshing and beautiful rainfall that I have ever seen, and were able to walk on the foot bridges in the canopy of the rain forest (can’t really say I was a fan of that tbh). I know we did more than this but I’m low key struggling with a 6 year old memory at the moment, please forgive me.
All in all, Ghana is a beautiful country and they have invested a lot in tourism (I would know because I had to write a 20+ page paper on it!). I would recommend that everyone add it to their bucket list, especially black folks. Have you guys been to Africa? If so, where and how did you enjoy it? Let me know!