Hitting The Wall

June 20, 2011 § 5 Comments

Hitting the wall, snapping, losing it, or whatever term you use, we all experience that at one point during a long-term stay in a new environment. I’m usually fairly good at separating my emotions from my environment. I lived in a mice-infested apartment in Spanish Harlem a few years ago in a seedy apartment building full of Dominican gangsters, drug dealers, and what seemed like a baby-making factory, but none of that fazed me. I’ve walked and traveled many parts of Accra for months and seen some of the same disgusting things I saw growing up and managed to separate my emotions from these, too.

But I snapped this week. I’ve had malaria all last week, which I’m slowly recovering from. Everything about Ghana now irritates the hell out of me- EVERYTHING! The people, the culture, the food… you name it, and I’m sure it, too, pisses me the fuck off! Sigh… I had to let that one out. I’ve also finally acknowledged to myself that I live in a village and the many things that come with living in a poor community. But I’m still sick of everything: flies, mosquitoes, phone credit, mud after rains, sunburn, trash-burning, using the bushes around my house as latrine, pure water, African movies, hip-life, everyday church.

I’m tired of the lazy bums walking around who all have 2 wives, a woman or two on the side, 5-7 kids all under 5, and how a few have asked without shame that I spot them money to buy food. Why do I end up being the one who feels embarrassed and ashamed when it’s they who should? I’m sick of the people who keep befriending me only to ask me to buy them stuff. If I rarely buy for the people I actually care about, what makes you think after seeing me a few times, we’re lifelong buddies all of a sudden and I should get you something? I also hate greeting people. No more “Good Morning.” I’m sick of you telling me that I didn’t greet you when I didn’t even notice you were there! If you saw me, shouldn’t you be the one initiating the greeting?! I’m also tired of hearing you tell me how you all do things here and how I should do the same. Do you expect or demand a Caucasian to do as you do? No? Then shut up next time you notice something different about me.

To you in the tattered blue shorts who always beats your wife. How you feel beating your pregnant wife for taking 2ghc to feed your 6 kids is beyond me. It’s 2011, and too many in men Ghana treat their wives like property, and all these women accept this as part of their destiny. Please let me walk by and catch you laying a finger on her. I’ll gladly squash the lil’ gnat you are. Also, can you all send your kids to school? No one needs your dirty, shoe-n-shirtless kids milling about late at night. There’s cyto and they offer free meals. The last thing I need is those rugrats scaling my wall 10 years from now to rob me because you didn’t give them a chance to any life.

Lastly, originality goes a long way, and imitation isn’t always flattery, it can be just…pathetic. Stop wearing those jeans below your butt thinking it’s cool. They’re not only 3 sizes smaller, you don’t impress anyone. Those plastic and fading Chinese jewelry knock-offs you’re wearing only add to make you even more pathetic. I sat in a restaurant and in walked 3 wannabees (my term for Ghanaians who walk around talking and acting like they’re from abroad). Not surprisingly, they all had their trousers way below butt level with their undies showing proudly. I couldn’t help but start laughing with a friend. No one wears their pants low anymore. Prison culture born out of inmate rebellion to no-belt rules, hip-hop imitated, and years after it’s no longer hip, in comes Ghanaians to pick it up like it’s high fashion. Even Nigerians don’t do that! Fellas, the only people who wear super tight pants today and make an effort to show their undies are gay men. That’s right, gay men. They call themselves twinks (I asked and was allowed to use the term). The dressing style is basically a calling card; a greeting, if you will. I’m Jon X, you’re Will A. Check out my package…” Get the picture? Where straight men might look at women’s butts or busts, some gay men look at each others’… you get my drift. And you sad, so-called swag…(another word I’ve grown to hate) you think you’re caked out by dressing this way. Guess what, your new trend is copying what gays do in the U.S. I for one love the funny irony, for a culture that’s as homophobic as this one.

Again, sick of that, too! Pull up your pants!


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§ 5 Responses to Hitting The Wall

  • madinghana says:

    Looking forward to Hitting the Wall Part 2!

    Writing is a great catharsis.

  • hayley says:

    wow your funny! hahaha sorry your hitting the wall has amused me im sure at the time you were rather stressed with it all! Im british and iv just got back from a visit to Ghana with my boyfriend who was born there but hasnt been back for 10 years. We are seriously considering moving over there hence why i appreciate your very open and honest words on here! 🙂 Hayley

    • Mike says:

      thanks, Hayley. I’d suggest a lot of planning and more planning especially for what you both want to do in Ghana before considering the move. I was away for 16 years, and it took me a year of planning before I came back, and even that wasn’t enough to prepare me for the many things I’m still adjusting to. Best of luck, guys! Email me if you have any questions.

  • hayley says:

    Hello Mike and thanks for the advice too, Iv also decided that if we are to do it i need to learn twi – not very easy at all! i said “soup” instead of “bless u” the other day my boyfriend is highly amused by my crap accent too!
    I’m guessing u don’t get many scouse ghanians? (scouse is the local accent here as i live near Liverpool)
    Still i dey fit speak pidgin – actually i say speak, more like i understand it and answer in english coz i know i will sound silly!
    Anyway I’m getting carried away here, Thanks again i shall look forward to reading more of your blog thingies

    • Mike says:

      scouse is a new term for me, but i’ve heard stephen gerrard speak, so is it the same? i’d like to say twi isn’t hard, but after 16 years away, i’m still learning. as long as you learn the right intonations, and a few working phrases, you’ll be fine.

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