Well no adventures are taking place at this time since I have no idea when classes are going to start. The strike is still happening and I am starting to get somewhat frustrated. There is no progress being made nor are there any updates being given. The international student department is also on strike so all of the exchange students are getting kind of restless without classes. The lack of productivity has given me time to reflect on a few things I have seen.
I think that before I came here, I prepared myself in a completely wrong way. My mindset and objective was to teach these people as much about anything and everything as I could. I wanted to be able to teach them about America, about our way of life, about happiness, about progress, about community, about love. Honestly, I have no idea what I was thinking when I thought that I could teach these people anything. I have it completely wrong.
I have a new objective now.
Ever since I could remember, I have been the type of person that likes to observe and reflect in silence. I have never been very big on blasting my opinions or declaring my suggestions, I like to sit still and watch, listen, and use those observations to improve my opinions or just teach me something. For some reason, I didn’t think I needed to do that here.
That being said, my new objective is to learn. Learn so much about so may things, people, places, just everything. Ghana prides itself on their peace. I want to learn about why they are so peaceful. Why do they care for it so much? How do they achieve such peace? Will they ever compromise peace for something else? I want to know these things. I want to learn and know why.
These people are doing something right. I am not saying that this country is perfect and doesn’t have any problems. If you read my last post, you will see that it is not all rainbows and daisies here. There are still things that I see wrong, but don’t get me started on the list that America needs to work on. My point is that this country, and most of Africa, is way underestimated. Many people come to Africa thinking that they have so much to bring, so much to teach, so much to change. Why? Ever thought of it as the opposite? There is a poem that I read my first week here and I will never forget it. It is called “Who Broke Africa?” by a rap artist named Micah Bournes. Please just read this and think about it:
Let me ask you something:
Who broke Africa?
And how do we fix her?
stomachs swollen with emptiness,
Water polluted with disease,
HIV, gender violence,
the whole world is crying
and we all wanna know,
Who broke Africa?
And why is it that this one particular continent
is taking so long to update, urbanize,
enforce human rights
and figure out the right way to be human?
If only she could be like US,
Gluttonous and never gratified yet we look with eyes of pity upon her for being, “less fortunate.”
But what if she’s only less rich?
Might African youth have greater joy with a beat up soccer ball than we do with flat screens, laptops, new shoes, and 100 shirts we never wear hanging in a closet full of things we thought would make us happy? But we remain insecure, alone, depressed.
Now look, I’m not saying we’re no better off than Africa, but maybe it’s presumptuous to assume we are.
Life is hard in Africa, a struggle, but could the conflict be a sign of hope, proving that she is full of those who refuse to let injustice reign uncontested?
Africa is no damsel in distress, and we are not her savior,
Africa is a Mother in labor,
ripe with pain and life,
by the grace of God we stand by her side as a midwife and friend,
offering aid and encouragement but knowing
that we must empower her to push by her own strength!
Walk by her own faith!
And as we work with our sister in humble love, maybe
we will discover how to fix what is broken
for brokenness belongs to us all,
but hope, only to those who come together before God.
So I know that is a lot to take in and it is something that I have been thinking about for the past three and a half weeks. It sure is a lot of truth. A lot of sad truth. Let me know what you think. Or don’t. There is power in silent reflection. But I would love to know how this poem strikes other people.
Love you all!