Month: September 2014

Redirect Post: A Letter To Ghanaians In The Diaspora: A Rant


Hi all, below is the original letter from Nanama. A couple of people have talked about the link to the original site not working, so I decided to copy the post and redirect people to the post from my blog.

Below is her original letter to Ghanaian from her original: http://www.infoboxdaily.com/index.php/life/your-life/item/2066-a-letter-to-ghanaians-in-the-diaspora-a-rant

Dear Diaspora,
When I was in my third year at University and school was out for the holidays, I decided I would visit my aunt and uncle in London. It was summer, but you couldn’t tell because the weather was all miserable and confused like maybe the sun had lost its memory and had forgotten to be hot. They picked me up from the airport, and on the drive home they tried to manage my expectations, saying, “Our flat is not what you’re used to, it’s small but we make it work.” I was ok with that.

After about two hours on the road we got to their flat in Peckham, and they helped me carry my suitcase inside. They didn’t lie, it was a tiny, tiny place and it felt even more cramped because apart from the fact that they had three kids, it looked like they had tried to fit all the world’s belongings into it. I got settled into my new room for the next 3 months and then went to find my cousins (Hehe. I say “find” as if it was a palace with many rooms and I had to wander about for hours trying to figure out where they were. In reality, I took maybe 3 steps and I was back in the living room).

During the course of my holiday, I quickly learned that life in London, for my aunt, uncle and their kids, wasn’t rosy. It was work, work, school and busy, busy. It was easy for me to sympathise with them; they had to deal with weather that couldn’t decide between rain and sunshine and work and school routines that didn’t allow for much leisure time.

Life is like that for a lot of you Ghanaians in the diaspora, but it’s as though when you land at Kotoka, there’s something in the air there that gives you amnesia and makes you forget who you really are. Here’s where my rant begins, and mind you, I have taken the liberty to speak on behalf of all Ghanaians living in Ghana.

First of all, you make a huge fuss about the weather as if you expected any different. The sun was blazing hot in the 25 years you lived here before you left, and it’s blazing hot now. Besides, every time we speak to you on the phone, you complain about the bitter cold and how you can’t wait to come to Ghana and have the sun on your back. Well, now you have it, so shut up and enjoy it like you said you wanted to.

Secondly, you can fold that feigned air of superiority and stuff it back in your suitcase. We know you live in a matchbox, but you have the audacity to turn up your nose at everything, including the poverty you see on the streets — the hawkers that are still hawking and the beggars by the roadside who are still begging.

You talk big when you see people, like you’re playing the role of a hotel magnate in a big Hollywood movie. You paint a picture of a luxurious life, like it’s a bed of roses and every day is a holiday, but we know the truth o, we know. What’s annoying is that after making people think you eat and poop money, you get upset and complain when they ask, “d3n na wodi br33 y3n?” and expect you to be Santa Claus, all laden with gifts.

You have solutions to all our political problems, and you usually bestow your wisdom on us while you sit in your London or American flat. You tell us everything that’s wrong with Ghana, like we’re blind people and you’re the walking stick we need to get to the bathroom. You tell us, “Fight for our rights!”, “Don’t settle for mediocrity!”

This reminds me of a recent occurrence on Twitter, just before the #OccupyFlagstaffHouse demonstration was to happen, when a certain someone (name withheld), who wasn’t in Ghana at the time, was trying to rally people to join in. He was laughed at and insulted, which is, typically, what we do to you when you try to tell us how we can fix our country. If you’re so concerned, move back home and fix it yourself.

Speaking of home, do you realize how silly we think you sound when you say, “back at home,” like London is your hometown and you and the Prime Minister have tea and biscuits every Tuesday at 2 P.M. “Back at home,” like you don’t come from Abetifi, Kwahu in the eastern region of Ghana. And another thing, what is, “you Ghanaians”? You’re racist now? You say it like your nationality is a cheap suit that you took off and decided never to wear again.

The way you dress when you’re here is funny (this is mostly for the women), piling on the beads and the African print wraps that have no business being paired with that flower print dress and those dirty sneakers. Your British accent comes and goes; it comes when you’re talking to people you’re trying to impress, but when you go to Makola and you’re bargaining for cloth, it magically disappears.

You manage to weave, “meti abrokyire o” into every conversation you have. Isn’t it exhausting? Next time you’re coming down, why not just get a badge made that says that on it and pin it to your forehead?

Last thing, the legal tender of Ghana is the Cedi, in case you’ve forgotten. Not the Pound or the Dollar or the Euro, so quit asking, “How much is that in Pounds?” as if we don’t have any forex bureaus, or you don’t have the sense to know to change money before going shopping or to eat at a restaurant.

We love you Ghanaians in the diaspora, we really do. If for nothing at all, for the humour we derive from your antics. But you seem to forget who you are and where you come from. You expect magic, that when you come down everything that’s wrong with Ghana should already be fixed. Things aren’t perfect here, but it’s home, so quit with your nagging.

Yours forever,

Ghanaians living in Ghana

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REPLY: A Letter To Ghanaians In The Diaspora. Not A Rant, Just A Response


REPLY: A Letter To Ghanaians In The Diaspora. Not A Rant, Just A Reply To A Letter

REPLY: A Letter To Ghanaians In The Diaspora. Not A Rant, Just A Reply To A Letter

I just read an interesting article titled “A Letter To Ghanaians In The Diaspora: A Rant” by Nanama Boatemaa Acheampong. It is an interesting post and it has some truths to it. Nanaama clearly stated it was a rant, so my expectations were set before I read it. I was not surprised by her rants, because it seems to be the general consensus of most Ghanaians against Ghanaians in the Diaspora. Before you read my response below, I suggest you click on her link and read her post. You will like it because there is some truths to it.
https://joedarko.com/2014/09/25/redirect-post-a-letter-to-ghanaians-in-the-diaspora-a-rant/

My Reply:

Dear Nanaama, first of all, I want to thank you for your rant. It places things in perspective – but I suggest you do the due diligence to understand things from a greater point of view before you rant. Yes, I am a Ghanaian in the diaspora and for the past 12 months, I have been to Ghana twice. I am the kind of guy who likes to dress comfortably over the summer here in the states – with my T-Shirt, shorts and slippers (or sometimes my loafers or sperry’s) coupled with my wrist beads and African necklace and whenever I am in Ghana, I wear similar outfits. I have had Ghanaians in Ghana say “Oh, isn’t he from the U.S? Why is he dressed so normal like this? My answer is simple: I do what is comfortable for me and I do not try to impress anyone in Ghana or in the States. Believe me or not, there are a lot of Ghanaians in the diaspora who have this mindset of not trying to impress anyone. Not every Ghanaian in the diaspora is a “show boy or show girl” when they come to Ghana. Not every Ghanaian in the diaspora is looking to impress anyone in Ghana. I am just a simply young Ghanaian man, who just graduated from Penn State 3 years ago and working now. My life is simple: I have my little car and my little apartment with some of my toys like the XboxOne and other stuff and I’ll never flaunt to any Ghanaian as if I live with Obama in the White House. I cut my coat according to my size and with time, I will get to where I need to or want to be – and yes a lot of Ghanaians in the diaspora are also living like this.

I’m sorry to hear that you lived in a “match box” when you visited your auntie. Well, that’s what they had. Maybe instead of you ridiculing it, you should appreciate it. They actually gave you a place to lay your head. In your letter, they obviously did their best to set your expectations during your ride to their place from the airport. They did that possibly because they knew you were living large in Ghana and didn’t want you to be disappointed. But you were still disappointed like a brat and instead of appreciating it, you proudly wrote about it and rudely exposed their humble lifestyle – I bet you they didn’t ask you to preach to the world about their tiny home. If you care to know, historically, houses have always been small in the UK. The rich or poor live in small houses and even compared to the States, their food portions are also small. Sometimes it is cultural and sometimes it is simply the economic situation of the people you will be living with. If you don’t want to live at a small place in London on your next vacation, I suggest you carry your mansion the next time you visit or better yet, stay in Ghana and enjoy your vacation.

You are saying Ghanaians in the diaspora complain about the weather when they visit Ghana, well shoot! It is hot. We complain here when we get extreme temperatures over the summer and the winter. We are humans and humans complain. We do not complain in Ghana to get your attention or to beg for your sympathy – we simply complain just the same way you do. Yes, it is expected that Ghana will be hot, but in life, you do not always get what you expect. Whenever I get ready to visit Ghana, it is always in my subconscious that it will be hot, but I still sweat like a dog when I get there. My expectations do not change the temperature from hot to cold. Yesterday was the first day of Fall here in the States and I expected it to be cold but it was freezing. When I started to freeze, I called up one of my friends to complain – this is life. Ghanaians living in the diaspora do not complain to get anyone’s attention when they come to Ghana. We complain simply because we are stating facts – sometimes we are simply exaggerating and being a little dramatic. Oh and by the way, before you point your finger at others just look at your own life: you are the same person who complained about the weather in UK during your visit in your post. So it is okay for you to complain when you visit, but it is never okay for us to do the same? Perfect. I get it.

Concerning politics, we are not saying Ghanaians are too blind to see their problems, but let’s call a spade for what it is and for once let’s accept the truth: we (Ghanaians) do not hold our government accountable. You are right, we should come down and help if we are going to give our two cents, but you have forgotten that some Ghanaians also have families here as well and will not just get up to fight the incompetence of Ghanaian leadership. Unless you have a fat bank account (and I’m talking about millions of dollars), you won’t risk it. Also, we all know that Ghanaians will not just sit and watch a Ghanaian in the diaspora come and make positive changes simply because “he did not live in Ghana”. You are the same people who ignore the help of others try to come back home to help – we hear you say, “what is he doing here? he thinks he knows better than us? he did not live here but wants to come here and make a change?”. You are the same people who push people away when they are trying to help. You forget to understand that for any positive change to be administered or be effective, it starts with a grass root – so when we give our two cents, it is ONLY our two cents. You can simply take it or leave it. A corrupt society does not benefit anyone but people with buying power; and for the people overseas, so long as they are working hard and have more buying power than a majority of Ghanaians, then a corrupt Ghana will benefit them and not necessarily some of the people in Ghana who are working only to make ends meet – so if someone in the diaspora is just giving their two cents, then it should tell you that they simply care. Do not overlook this as arrogance. An arrogant person will not care and continue to live their life.

Whenever I’m in Ghana, I speak twi. Yes, my family members make fun of my Twi, but I see no difference in what I am speaking and what they are speaking. I speak it because it is my language whether it is good or not. I do not try to “brofolize” anything to impress anyone. Do you realize that the Dadabee’s like you are the ones who are always trying to speak English to us when we are in Ghana? In your own country, you avoid speaking your own dialect – then we become the criminals for responding to you in English with an accent we have developed overseas. Have you realized that YOU are the same people who try to talk with a British Accent and American Accent? You actually try to force it. Have you realized that YOU are the same people who are so pressed to pick up on American or British lingos? But then you turn the tables and blame us when we connect with you on that level and communicate with you. I per-se do not need to speak English to prove to you that I have an American accent. It is a language and nothing more.

Yes, your post may contain some valid points, but you sound like the “angry little sister” with all this rant because NOT ALL GHANAIANS IN THE DIASPORA ARE EXACTLY WHAT YOU HAVE MENTIONED. People are different. Some might fit the bill, but not all – so do not write a letter to ALL of us when you want to address the select few of people you know. You have a problem with them, tell them to their face when they come to Ghana. Laughing behind their back and talking behind their back won’t alleviate the problem. When people travel they pick up different traits, different cultures and different habits, so do not be naive to quickly point out the prick in the eye of your beloved Ghanaians in the diaspora while you have a huge log in yours.

SOME Ghanaians in the diaspora match exactly what you have described in your post, but please do not place ALL of us in your “auntie’s matchbox” – like you said, it is too small for us all to fit.

Yours’ Faithfully,
Ghanaians In The Diaspora!

Courtesy of Joe Darko
Twitter/Instagram: @joe_darko
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