December 11, 2013 § 11 Comments

I’ve been wrestling with some topics the past 2 years. They are “third rail” stuff, and after countless writes, edits, deletions, I’ve decided to break this first topic up in series. Be forewarned: I may not hold back. This is as honest as I can be with you about sex…yes, sex. Yeah, I’d be cringing if I were you 😛 I’m writing this foreward for my favorite people: the lurkers who usually bemoan my honesty about Ghanaians- especially women. If you don’t read through and feel the need to cross me, I will let you have it. I lost my mojo for most of the year, but I’m back! Stay tuned! 😉


How It Began

October 16, 2013 § 6 Comments

He entered and calmly perched on his usual seat; a corner seat with expansive views of the gulf and bustling of downtown Osu. It also had clear views of Kotoka, which was his last stop before this perch. Accra hadn’t felt more numb and stale. It was as if every micron of soul had been sucked up and reading to take off on that runway at Kotoka.

The somewhat usually cozy wooden slats were now an unease like that of cold park bench. All his senses were acutely trained on what he could only assume was Kotoka’s runway far off in the distance as his tense senses had now quietly floated him to the open-air balcony. He’d all but forgotten about the cousin who worked at this hotel’s roof-top restaurant.

He had also forgotten she worked there as well. She was a newbie waitress he’d had a promising flirty chat with two weeks prior…until she eagerly showed him a pic of her boyfriend. She had also ignored all his texts, IMs, and calls after what he imagined was a clear interest. A week on, he’d accepted maybe it really was just his imagination afterall.

Now, who is she?

She has that slight build of a high school sprinter: very little or barely-there hips; a sinewy and athletically-toned physique without that usual bulge or rippling definitions. She has a freshly-churned cocoa butter look. She has these gorgeous brows which seemed to umbrella a beautiful cascading symmetry of deep brown eyes, rounded cheekbones, those full, clam-shaped lips. She…also had an unusual inate beauty: you inquisitively appreciated it from a distance, and are awed and amazed when within retina view. She also had a laughter that could be annoying but quickly grows on you.

He could hear that laughter. She was working that evening. He’d almost forgetten about her. But his increasingly worrying thoughts were now lasered on that runway and what seemed a never-ending delay for that Dakar-JFK flight he’d been waiting for. The muffled voice from his supportive cousin was a welcomed distraction but he needed more.

So it was back across the night-tinted open-paned glass doors and back to the cozy and empty restaurant.
She saw him. She remembered him. He was too cerebral not to notice. He didn’t care to acknowlege her. If she could ignore his overtures, he could do her one better, he surmised.
Tense, quiet moments went by with seconds feeling like minutes. He intentionally spoke only in Gã knowing very well she didn’t speak any. He wanted her to see a master play her game. It was cold. It was harsh. It was also far too funny an act that the stoic cousin was now bursting with laughter.

In moments, after nearly an hour nervously looking up and out for a take-off that wasn’t happening, it did!
The wheels were still down. He was relieved; cousin was extatic at watching a family member take off in flight. She was left out and stood almost in quiet repose. Some rather child-like repetitive eye-rolls at him were clear signals she wasn’t amused about being ignored. It was very funny as the teasing had now been repositioned at the bar, which had been her only comfort from him.

He knew she’d suffered enough. She needed relief…and he knew exactly what she needed.

He called her aroud the bar to listen to a country version of “I can love you like that.” She gleefully obliged like that of a toddler passed on for chances at double dutch…and all of a sudden getting that relieving invite to hop in.

She stood next to him as the youtube vid loaded. He held her small waist firmly as they all listened. The words weren’t easily discernable. So he paused and restarted, only this time, he sang out the lyrics to her…as if he was really was saying to her:
“I can love you like that. I will make you my world. Move heaven and earth, if you were my girl.”

It was brilliant!

He gently tapped her lower back as he sang to her like only a crooner could. She seemed to love every bit of that moment. He knew he was a good flirt, but on this, even he knew he’d given it a good end as work rudely punctuated their lovely moment. But was it the end?

He had not moments replaced himself on his prefered seat before she called out to ask if he’d accompany her downstairs for a minute. He needn’t go. But he knew why she asked. She knew why she asked him to come along. But neither expected anything thereafter. This was very evident in what felt the quietest and longest moment of the evening as they both stood waiting for the elevator down.

In the lift, she stood closest to the back; and he, the door. Neither spoke. But the silence was deafening. She seemed to glow in this moment. He knew…she knew. He glanced. She spied. But neither moved. This was all in one floor; they had 6 more to go.

Entering the 5th, he let go of his inhibitions and reached for her hand. He pulled her into him. She looked down, but willingly obliged. His hands went from clasping her waist to firmly holding her…as if shielding her from a wintery blast. She still looked down.

Their noses touched. He had led the way up to this point, but it seemed she was still unwilling to take that final plunge.
They held this pose for moments. Then the gentle cheek-to-cheek..to neck..to shoulder touches followed. As those progressed, so went the tighter embrace. He could feel her rapidly beating heart. It was a very tender and soothing moment. It was as if theirs was akin to an airport departure/arrival embrace.

And as it seemed they’d inched to their crescendo.. ding!
She peeled off calmly and straightened out her blouse. He finally took a breath and waited intently at the lift’s door.

Upon her return, she knew what he meant to her. He knew what she meant to him. It wasn’t some dirty hook-up. Theirs was going to be a new chapter neither had hoped for nor anticipated, nor could they predict its future.

But for the 7 flights back to the roof-top restaurant, two very lucky people got a near-perfect start to their romance.

Accra felt soulful again, and a man could grin proudly about the best kiss he’d had and the equally unforgetable and mesmerizing beauty who had stolen his heart after their unusual and unanticipated confluence of events that night.

Marriage…Or Something Like It

March 7, 2013 § 12 Comments

Normally, I’d let my thoughts marinate for a while before writing, but I fear the lights will be out when I get home (I’m at aunt’s in legon), and I would’ve lost all interest in this.
So, let’s see how to wrap your minds around my thought processes.

I’m 32 years old and after a smatter of dating encounters, I’m happily single. No, really; I am!! I don’t need the games. I don’t need the attitude; or any drama that comes within and without.

I also have had a lil’ catharsis of sorts: I miss white women 😦 No, it’s not exactly what you’re thinking. But I do miss being around a woman with western sensibilities. This local sh*t ain’t cuttin’ it for me. It’s so dry (mimic a middle-aged Greek New Yorker when you read that)!

The whole black woman thing started being a cute novelty thing. But once you get past that round butt, they start losing major points. And since none bears that golden coochie to justify all the BS any man like me will eventually have to put up with, I think it’s time to return to the tried and realiable.

I’m not bashing your sisters, or moms or daughters, so save your needless venom. Nor am I saying I prefer one color over another. I just realize we…just…don’t…RELATE. I’m an agnostic theist. I won’t go to church or worship the bible. I love kissing. I don’t like “african movies.” I don’t like skanky outfits. I like my woman to understand the meaning of good skin care. I could go on and on…
I even thought sex would be the great equalizer, but you were too busy reading that bible to learn where your clitoris is, and therefore totally clueless about sex (as you’ve prob already accepted yours is to lay there until I’m finished because the ring I gave you gives me that right), and therefore serious suck at it (no pun intended). Or you’re too comfy with a plethora of dicks plowing your worn out cookie as long as money or presents follow, and that isn’t a good option for me either.
I know…I know. I’m exaggerating and I’m probably being mean (again). Yes, I know. But this is my limited experience. Show me something else, and I’ll sing those praises here. Until then…

So, this leaves us…me, being a lil’ happy alone. But alone doesn’t exactly get me my 3 kids. I know of those other options, but call me old fashioned. I like things ooo na-tu-ral.
Let’s clarify something here: my angsts are solely about local Ghanaian women. This is not about all black women.

Ok. Back to my options..
Aunt 1 opines and randomly suggests arranged marriages. “They still do it,” she says. “If you want, we can arrange one…” That met a resounding, but kind ‘no, thanks!’
Adopted cuz/sis giddly impresses upon me to marry a white girl “please, marry one! I’ve always loved mixed babies. You know, if I had my way and I wasn’t with my bf…” You can guess the rest. We just had to laugh hysterical at that sincerity in her seriousness.

Then just this afternoon, aunt 2 adds her bit, which I’ve heard about 50 times already. Do I have a glaring neon sign that says “desperately seeking!”? I’d love to add to my brood of 7…i.e., the ones I can’t return when they become too much. But does it have to be through marriage?

Yes, I probably should’ve married that right girl before coming here. Lots of shuda, coulda, wouldas. Honestly, if you are single and contemplating a long-term stay here, bring your partner. Don’t come to look for one here.

Meanwhile, I just want my 3 kids; 1 for starters. She can even be a surrogate, or that well-timed knock-up. The bff doesn’t like that last idea.

What to do..
My banku beckons, so we’ll cont. this later.

Thinking Out Loud

February 23, 2013 § 2 Comments

I’m sitting in the lobby of Roots Apartment Hotel in Osu. It’s somewhat of a hidden, tranquil spot, which also happens to be in the heart of the Accra’s version of 5th Ave.
I didn’t have the best of evenings last night. I made what I thought was some wicked spinach stew. Only, it really was one wicked stew! Hint: never re-use old frying oil as part of your stew. I was a bit lazy, and now here we are. This will be my fifth food poisoning in 2 years. I don’t think I had a single poision in the preceeding 16 years. The accompanying fever is what I don’t get. It’s amazing how quickly the body grows weak from illness and the unusual compromises our minds settle for when we’re in such precarious situations.
I went to pee and found myself accepting “let me just rest here for a minute.” The ‘here’ was the 2-foot square space between my tub and the base of my WC. I never imagined a dirty rug and cool, yet dusty and sandy floor would feel so comfortable.
I’m still struggling with the heat. Can anyone explain this: when I sit or lie down in bed, my body sweats in turns. If I’m ever so slightly turned, whichever side that’s elevated sweats (leg, arm, torso, forehead), and it’s as if my body’s split in half, where the other (lower) half is completely dry and cool. I dunno if this is my kidneys struggling to function where I should be very concerned, or whether our skin goes through strange changes as it transitions from one extreme climate to another. Have you experienced any unusual bodily changes during your stay here in Ghana?
I haven’t written in a long while. It’s not from lack of interest or motivation. I just find less and less time to get into the mood to write. I usually let my emotions run whatever I’m experiencing out of my fingers. On one hand, it might make for good reading. On another, it might become annoying if you keep reading how I keep experiencing the same thing.
So, I might switch things up a bit. Instead of talking about my life, I might fictionalize real life experiences I see. 1. To protect the privacy of those I’m talking about. and 2. I like to see just how be creative in my writing.
Anyway, I’m going to stop here and head out to Accra to search for newly price-inflated drink concentrates. Ya gotta love Accra!

5 Wonderful Things To Enjoy In Ghana – I

January 3, 2013 § 8 Comments

Before I start, if you know you might read your Bible sometime today, have quoted the Bible this past week on fb, are related to me, dating me, or you are someone I personally know who I’d be embarassed to know even glanced at this entry- do us both that kind gesture and quickly close this tab. Thank you.

I’m going to touch on 5 interesting things visitors and even those not-so-keenly-observant bodies already here might enjoy or find fascinating about Ghana.

Last thing…note that first warning. Don’t cring. Don’t judge. And definitely don’t jump the gun to criticize. You’d only be re-awakening the now dormant Mike who wrote those last two entries in less than 90 minutes.
So…ready? Today’s topic:


So where do we begin? Ok…I have one, you have one; I’d take an easy guess and say every human has one- one pair, that is. But…they aren’t all the same, now are they? Some are barely there that they aren’t even worth the energy it’ll take for your natural repulsion to eminate upon seeing them. Then there are those that draw these unexplainable, but bizzarely natural reactions. Mike Epps had a line in “Roscoe Jenkins” talking to Martin Lawrences’ character: “man, you need to get her pregnant!” That line wasn’t in reference to Lawrences’ character’s girlfriend’s looks. I’ve even heard stories where men would admit they married their wives simply because of it.

I don’t know where you’ve been on this planet, but they like to say South Koreans, Persians, Slavic and perhaps Swedes/Scandanavians make the most beautiful women. But that’s naturally a subjective measure. You could be a superbly carved size 2, but if your butt falls short (every pun intended), for me, you could easily drop from a 9.9 down to a 5.
That said, and all subjectivity be damned, I’d confidently state: Ghanaian women have the best asses in the world. Now, I’m not saying all of them do; that’s impossible. But if you doubt my assertion- even slightly- just go to Madina (or any slightly busy transit point in Accra) and do a slow 360. I’m a bit of a butt connaseur, so I’d like to pretend I have some authority on it. I can tell nearly exactly what kind of butt you have from looking at you from the front. I can even tell what permanent physiological changes it’ll go through after kids, in the next 5, 10, and even 20 years! Can you do that? If I don’t think yours has enough shape-holding power, I might look elsewhere.
Anyway, there are 3 main butts you’ll see that generally appear good looking, but only one is worth approaching. Mind you, we’re stripping out fat ones from this discussion. Fat is fat. If a girl drags her fat ass around thinking she’s all that, don’t be sucked in. You don’t want that jelly/puddy mass. Move on.

The first: these ones have a clay pot-shape to them. From a profile view, they might look great. But from the front, you’d notice their heavily padded hips (all fat like camel humps) protrude far wider than their shoulders and bust. They’re usually attached to heavy, chunky thighs. Look if you want, but those are very unstable. After 2 kids, that whole mass will double in size PERMANENTLY!  You don’t want that. Her breasts will still be that anaemic B-cup. Now, I’ve never cared about cup size. There’s far too many big tits in my family for me to really see them as things to go crazy over. But when a small cup is coupled with a 40+inch hip, that just ain’t right. (See Jocelyn Dumas)

The second: shape shifters. You can never quite tell what lies beneath. Yesterday, it was yay, today it’s ohhh, tomorrow, you’ll wonder “wtf happened!” This is a slightly broad category, but a lot of these get their shapes from whatever the woman wears- and the (legitimate) fear is, she’s aware and will never wear anything that doesn’t flatter her butt. Some of these are good to last, but many are disappointing when you see them upclose. I can’t say whether you should avoid these like the first, but if you’re a bit picky like me, you might be disappointed.

Finally: 3tõ. Here, you’re going to be very lucky. There’s a LOT of these everywhere in Ghana- from 4’10” to 5’9″ and the best part is: most of these women have no clue what they have. Nigerian women can’t match. In fact, I have yet to see any group of black people with this much perfection. A Ghanaian woman might butcher her face down to a 2, but her ass and frame clutching it will easily be a 9!
I met one the other day coming home from Adjirigano and it was too much. Now, I don’t mean size-wise. It was a perfect C. I couldn’t help but ask, “ehh! wei di… wo tõ ni?!” She giggled and stroked her hair a bit. I think she was slightly disappointed I didn’t follow up by stroking more of her ego. I had a taxi to catch.
I’m 99% of the time not interested and I think those words come out in that friendly way, too, instead of that creepy I-can’t-be-caught-alone-with-you-anywhere look. If you’re even a friend and for whatever reason, yours stands out one day, I just might give it the compliment it deserves. Try that sometime; just don’t be so effusive in your praise so as to turn her off.
Anyway, the best way I can describe this one is the bowl test. Take any regular plastic bowl and place it next to a wall (yes, ignore the flat bottom). real 3tõ usually starts 3-4″ above the tailbone. Most white women have theirs starting from the tailbone down. I said most, not all. Anyway, 3tõ doesn’t droop, sag, dimple…they can be firm, tight, or softer like Miss J’s, but they all defy gravity. Etõ is neither big nor small. It’s usually slightly bigger than the fom that holds it. Each girl even has her own signature walk giving her ass just that right bump from each step. It’s really something to see for yourself And they’re all a true natural wonder. A dress, skirt, short doesn’t need to flatter nor compliment it. It’s the other way around. If you want to encounter this sub-species, visit anywhere locals team in a frenzied/ busy atmosphere (Accra central shopping districts, markets, etc). Please don’t stop and stare, or oggle, or salivate, or pant like sad thirsty pups upon seeing Ghana’s open secret wonder. Afterwards, whenever someone mentions “nice ass” anywhere, you’ll have a quiet grin and briefly slip back in memory to Accra and Ghana, and feel sorry for your sad, uninformed friend. Sorry, ladies…I got nothing for you today (I don’t even notice the men).
Now, can you say ‘3tõ?’ If you can perfectly intone: “nnd3, wo tõ ay3 f3” to the right girl, you might get lucky and touch one! 😉

On Some Of What I Write

October 23, 2012 § 11 Comments

Imagine for a second you’ve travelled briefly, and upon your return, you find your very beautiful family home has some new guests. In fact, it’s a whole hoard of unwanted guests. Some are tolerable, some are downright irritable, and most offend your sensibilities, but what really pisses you off the most is they’ve all taken to trashing the house with unbridled and relentless precision, and with not a care for how far they destroy the place, or whether they render it completely unlivable. Now, you’ve also always understood this wasn’t just your personal property to do as you wish, but that it was more of a communal asset of sorts- one which although beautify, was undeniably imperfect and had its many faults, but yours was to love and cherish and protect and always look to enhance its beauty and maintain its structural integrity. You were essentially a steward of this manor, and you always understood your obligations to it.

What you come to learn about these new guests that really troubles you is their indifference about how far their negative actions have and still affect the house. You realize they’re actually steeled in their willful ignorance about home improvement and home maintenance, and seem to have not a care to actuate any visible measures that would suggest to you and everyone around that they are aware of the effects their actions have had on the house and the steps they and you hope will reverse the damage for which they are largely responsible. You also realize that besides all these attitudes I’ve mentioned, they don’t seem to take too kindly to your efforts to clean up the house. They resent your even suggesting measures they could take to mitigate the mess they create and the damages to the house they could create should they continue along the path they’ve walked since you first left on your trip.

Can you picture all that? Does any of it make sense to you? Can you see yourself enjoying living in this house? Now, imagine again that this is a home you really love and one that’s chock full of beautiful parts and memories… memories that are slowly being whittled away by the utter decay of the house caused by this extended family, most of whom you’d never met before your trip, never actually known about, and whose presence you find yourself caring less, and less, and less about. How do you see yourself living in this house? Are you happy in it? Would you like sharing a bathroom with these Neanderthals? Is it conceivable that you can find yourself downright hating these family pests you can’t get rid off? And can you see yourself being tight-lipped for as long as you live in this house and not say anything because you’ll offend someone’s sensibilities, or that they’ll let you know that their feelings have been hurt by your words to them? Can you see yourself helping to improve and enhance the home to heights it should proudly possess while these folks still keep to their status quo? Lastly, imagine for a second that you’re someone who wears his or her emotions on his/her sleeves and you’re thrust into this home with all its imperfects and most importantly, needless and unwarrantedtroubles, and its new (and even old) occupants expect you to accept the new status quo and either accept it or leave. Remember now that this is your home, too. 

Did you imagine all that? Now multiply the damages of this house by let’s say a factor of 100,000. Done? Mind you, you’re still in this house, but now that extra 20 irritants has grown to 2.5 million more than before your trip- with most, not all, having the same attitudes, ignorance, and conscientious stupidity, and utter and shameful disregard for taking care of the house. Let’s not forget this house is still the same size. How are you holding up? Are you any happier? Are you more irritable? Can you continue to keep your blinders on and pretend you don’t notice the continuing mess that grows around you? Let’s add one more: imagine after all you have to put up with, some of these urchins have the balls to tell you that have no right or place to react in the way you now (naturally) do to the images and experiences you’ve been bombarded with since you came back from your trip. And not only are they incensed that you have the balls to talk about these experiences, or images, or feelings, but that they feel you have no right to keep your own personal diary, (which they snoop to read) a place you’ve felt is one of only a handful of outlets to let off some of these boiling emotions built up on those sleeves. You left and returned home one of the nicest people in the world (you still are); they manage to piss the living daylight out of that genial side of you, then they proceed to complain that you have no right to be pissed or say anything that paints an honest picture of them because it makes them look bad? How do you feel now?

This is me in Accra.

So you think I’ve not been kind to Ghanaian women or don’t like them? You think I complain too much? You hide behind your keyboards and LCDs and mouth off comments you know you wouldn’t say to my face because I’m no ordinary geek… because I literally can and will snap you in two if you set me off. I write what I feel. I write what I experience. I make no pretenses about all I observe in this very familiar, yet strange land. I don’t gloss over stuff and pretend not to observe them. If I wanted hits, I could pen prose that will make you melt and return every hour jonesing for a fix you imagine only I could give you, but as you can tell, that’s not my motivation. I like to be brutally honest in my essays, but even on that, I severely restrain myself- trust me on this. I’m quite confident I don’t even write for anyone. This is my bully pulpit. This is my woods where I can go to scream off that primal: FUCK!!! Because I know I can’t just do that anywhere my emotions might call for it. This is my punching bag.

How do I write? A topic either ruminates for a while in my head or lingers like a pulsating migraine until I literally punch it out on my keyboard. I save, post when I can, and rarely ever think of it again. Sometimes, it’s snippets of unrelated thoughts I’d piece together in an entry. Sometimes, you might consider my words harsh, or mean, or cruel, but remember you’re that person in the gym watching me take it out on that 80lb bag. How I hit that bag or why I choose to hit should be of little concern to your own feelings- least of all, your feelings about me. Let’s even allow that you can choose to wonder about why I’d be hitting a punching bag, but should you feel from watching me throw two jabs and a straight right, that you’ve gleaned all there is to know about me and therefore assume the right to come around to vilify, judge, and crudely and rudely make comments about me, or my life? I love it when people tell me they’ve read two entries and know my type or who I am. Would you like it if I did the same to you? Again, I write what I know. I don’t write hearsay or conjecture, or even second and third-hand accounts of situations I haven’t seen or experienced for myself. If anything, I’ve been very kind in my writing.

If you don’t like an honest portrayal of yourself and your environs, start and end your objections by looking at yourself in the mirror. If you don’t like someone complaining about Accra or Ghana, instead of typing out a comment I’ll easily reject, ask yourself why would this person (and most foreigners- at least the ones that will talk) have from time immemorial, offered the same grievances I’m hearing from this person? What do they see that I don’t see or choose to ignore, subconsciously or otherwise about myself and my country? Most of my classmates from JSS left Ghana and never came back. Well, some come back for that vacation here and there, but most take their potentials overseas- and these are some very smart people; they finely polish their advanced intellects, and choose to apply them there. Look up and down my facebook friends list if you can, or try yours for that matter (of those from Ghana)… what’s their motivation to come back when they have to endure cock-ups like you. You choose to wallow in your filth atop the riches you could never seem to learn how to put to your benefit. You sit and watch white people come from the 1400s till now to tap these very same resources you’ve still not learned to use to enhance your wretched livelihoods. They come to work jobs you should be able to do, but can’t. They come to build and exploit industries for their gain, and return with riches that’ll never benefit you- yet you gladly usher them in like VIPs. Sometimes, they come and settle and find ways to start small enterprises you should’ve been able to start on your own, but never did and never will do, but you’d be the first to complain that they’re here taking your jobs. You then enter into what can only be described as indentured servitude in their businesses and put up with all manner of abuse…just so you can say you, too, got something from broni? You clamor for their 2nd hand clothing, expired and unwanted products, and government subsidized goods that constrict your own local industries. You now go so far as to pathetically and shamefully mimic their accents- or at least, what you imagine they actually sound like, just so you can pretend you’re like them (I can never understand that behavior)? You pawn off their music as yours by slapping “hiplife” label on it like it’s a whole new musical genre, when in actuality it’s only Twi rap. You bleach your skins, don a mishmash of what you imagine is how these westerners wear and pretend you’re living some high society experience these people have in their countries. Yet, after all this, you secretly resent their presence here inasmuch as you outwardly grovel and slobber over them when those rare opportunities present themselves. You show your disdain when I pack off my “pure water” sachet into my bag or pocket instead of throwing it anywhere because you think I think I’m better? You’re right, I am better than you! You even resent foreigners offering advice (or I guess sometimes, dictating is the right term) on how to improve your own homeland when at the same time, you can’t help but repeatedly return to them with hands in knees for loans packages to prop up an economy they own and control. You don’t think they control you? Name me one thing you think you own outright that they need; or one thing you think you own or control that they don’t already have, and also ask yourself whether you can subsist without their presence here. But heaven forbid, a brown-skinned person like yourself actually speaks truths you don’t want to hear, especially one “uppity” guy who has lived and been educated abroad.

Get used to it, homes. I’ll write what I see. If you don’t like it, tough luck! I don’t need your clicks. I don’t want to be your friend. I have more than enough friends. And at my age, I certainly don’t give two shits about placating to your fragile feelings…while you continue to contribute to fucking up my home. Save your objections (which I obviously will never post) for face-to-face, or don’t bother writing- your pick. By December 31, I’ll have not one, but…count it… TWO businesses with at least 5 long-term employees earning no less than 250ghc/month! What have you done for Ghana in the time I was gone and in the time I’ve been back? Oh, that’s right, nothing…except troll expat blogs and bitch about what people write. I am wicked smart. So smart, I came to Ghana and saw the same gold mine those white folks have been seeing, and I’ll tap it for me and family, and then show my fellow “too-know” friends how I did it. No, I won’t enjoin with you to help improve Ghana like you’ve suggested because we’ve both heard that empty rhyme too many times. We won’t see eye-to-eye on virtually everything; you already resent me; and I’ll quickly tire of seeing someone who knows how to dress ‘smartly” but is actually has no better use than a bubblehead doll. And should I end up hiring no-experience/masters-holding empty shells like you, I’ll look to how the Indians, Chinese, and Lebanese treat you at their business and double it, because you’ve shown us just how much you like being beaten down. You think I hurt your lil’ feelings?…grow the fuck up! …you fucking duchebags!

See you next entry! 😉

Some Of Why I’m In Ghana

October 23, 2012 § 5 Comments

My very first job was at Target. This was not very long after high school. In public school, I literally had no time for paying job. If you knew how insane my schedule was, you’d understand. The remainder of high school away at boarding school in a small southern Vermont town didn’t exactly allow for paying jobs even when I was at home on holidays, either. It was an overnight restocking position that ran from 11pm till 7am. I loved it! But it was hectic. Target was in Milltown; I lived in North Brunswick. I quickly realized I could run/walk those 6 miles a good hour faster than the two NJ Transit buses that would get me to work- and my legs were free!

Not long after I’d started, I thought up this insane idea about taking on a cashier job at Shoprite. Theirs was fairly close on rt 27, which intersected my street. After a week of watching training videos, learning all sorts of codes and commands, and nervously shadowing and learning from a few more experienced employees during their shifts, I was ready to take my own till and deal with hundreds of demanding patrons- as you’d only find in New Jersey. I swear there must be something in the mid-Atlantic air that blows over that state that makes Jerseyans some of the most impatient and bitchiest of people in the world. Not long, I mastered this job, too.

What I hadn’t mastered was my schedule. Shoprite after a week of sporadic hours was now a full-bore 37-a-week. I started at 2, ending at 10pm, then I’d have to miraculously cut across How lane and rt 1 into Milltown, and finally to Target for an 11pm to 7am shift. Mind you, at Shoprite, I’d be standing nearly 7 hours in 2*2’ box, which was no joke, and only to find myself walking maybe about 3 miles shelving heavy items (they started me on soft lines which we both quickly concluded was NOT a fit). Between the two jobs, I was making around $640/wk before taxes. The money was ok, but I was more excited about being a working adult. I knew I wouldn’t do that schedule forever as I also knew Middlebury College was around the corner. What I didn’t know was how exhausting working 74.5 hours a week was! From Target, I’d be home by 8:30am to catch that sleep which never came when I wanted (there’s nothing like trying to sleep when the sun is up). Then, I’d have to be up at 1pm to don that bib for Shoprite and to begin a new 2-shift cycle. After a few days, I knew even my very fit 19-yr-old body couldn’t keep up. I had no life. I slept no more than 4 hours a day. I was always exhausted, my body ached like you wouldn’t believe, but at least I always figured there was an end in sight.

My 58-year-old mother has been doing this and worse for the past 13 years. It’s the unfortunate hand life deals you when you’re left with a mortgage, mounting bills, and 4 children including three adults, who still need your help every now and then. There was a day where by some set of circumstances, I spent the night when I visited home. Again, for whatever reason (I know… you’ll say ‘God’), I woke up in the middle of the night (something I almost never do). Her bathroom light was on, and the door was slightly ajar. She’d normally forget to turn off the tv or bedside lamp out of exhaustion before bed, and I’d wander in to turn them off. This time, I thought, was no different than those other times. Little did I know how wrong I’d be when I approached her bathroom. She sat motionless on the covered seat, her eyes seemingly fixed on the floor in what seemed like what a brief pause before heading back to bed. I turned to return to my bed, but the picture didn’t seem right, so I called her once, twice, and on the third, tapped her on the shoulder. In a moment she was having a violent seizure. There are so many ways to describe one until you find there just aren’t any when it’s your mother. It’s around 3am on a cold winter night. You’re hysterical and hopeless because you with all your might can’t help your mom. You’re left riding in an ambulance with paramedics (two arrive and mom’s later billed for both!) where at Robert Wood’s emergency entrance, she has another seizure- all of which you learn later had been triggered because thanks to her exhaustive work schedule, she’d forgotten a few doses of a medication she’s been taking and will have to take the rest of her life.

You hate to see her quickly return back to that exhaustive work schedule, but you reluctantly stay quiet because you both understand, she needs to work to survive, and you’re not in the position to help her as you’d like.

I don’t know why I wrote that health bit, but I’m typing a bit too fast to think everything out as I’d like. But let’s just say a lot of this stuff has weighed on me for the longest time- some of it actually dates far back to when we were in Ghana and a car accident that necessitated the need for that life-long pill. I’ve also had a love/hate relationship with my mother for the longest time (I have my own reasons). But as I’ve grown older, a promise to myself like one I’d made in my “tweens,” returned and seemed to permeate every thought I’d have about my future. I’d also lived what I’d call my “wandering years” where I was still searching for myself and where I wanted my life to go.

Unfortunately, some of that ‘want’ for my life involved a person I had no control over, and her impending marriage to someone else meant it was time for me to really reset my life button and started new experiences for myself, without interferences, in my own way, and on a path and in a pace solely of my choosing. I was enchanted by the Sonoma/Napa region of Northern California and strongly considered moving out there. I’d also read Peter Mayle’s A Year In Provence, and fantasized about life in Aix and Cote d’Azur. I also had flickers of interest about life in Ghana. It’d normally be a visit when doable, but living there (or here) had never been strongly considered until a friend now living in Montevideo suggested whatever I wanted to do in either Cali or France might as well be considered in Ghana. There had been ideas about business and work here, but I never actually thought of living here and taking care of those interests. So after researching and learning how life could work here, I spent another year researching how I could live and work here.

It’s been over 18 months now. I left on my own. I wasn’t cajoled, forced, tricked, punted here, deceived, or even kidnapped into coming back here. I knew the risks I was taking. I didn’t anticipate a lot I’ve seen and witnessed in the time I’ve been here. But I’d long made my mind I’d slog through this place one day at a time. Going back to live and work in the U.S. is not an interest or option for me. I can and will go back to visit friends and family, but the thought of doing another stressful and depressing bit least interests me. I’ve also come to realize I can make far more money here than I ever did in the U.S.  The top tax rate here hovers around 25%, which is significantly less than my tax burdens would be over there. I also stand to make more than enough money for my mother not only to quit one of her two jobs, but also to quit working to survive entirely and save what’s left of her back and shoulders, and hip bones. To be honest, if I were still in the U.S., I couldn’t fulfill that promise to myself about doing this for her and my family any time soon. I wouldn’t be in the position to get my oldest niece into an excellent private school like the one I was privileged to attend many moons ago; and I wouldn’t have enough money left over to travel and see the world besides the Canada and Netherlands I saw in my 16 years away from Ghana. AND, I won’t have to wait a year+ to accrue enough vacation days to do so.

I hate a lot about Ghana. Ok, I should take that back because I realize most of my hated rests with Accra. Whenever I cross its borders, I grow exponentially happier. I realized life wasn’t going to make it that easy for me, but if enduring these people and their behaviors I’d much wish didn’t exist, and the ineptness of this country’s leaders and the system they pretend to run allows me the very doable opportunity to fulfill some of these life goals, then I guess that’s a temporary cross I’d reluctantly bear …as I achieve all those personal goals.

So whenever you feel the need to ask me (again) why I’m still in Ghana, read the above. If you still insist on hiding behind your keyboard to ask and add those needless comments we both know you wouldn’t dare say to my face in person, kindly leave me your real email address, that way I can send you my ‘warmest’ reply *wink-wink*