I wish I could tell the story differently. I wish I could say that when our family moved to Ghana, sight unseen, I skipped the classic responses of foreigners to an African country – so typical they are often parodied. I wish I could say that I wasn’t overwhelmed by the things I was fearing, such as poverty, disease, and, truthfully, difference. These were the things I first noticed when we arrived in this country which was to be my family’s home for the next two years. Should I have turned right back around and headed home within the first few weeks, as I wanted to, this would have been my only impression and I would have perpetuated a half-truth about Ghana. I didn’t yet have the eyes to see Ghana as she truly was – it took time and intention to see her beauty.
Of course there were the resorts along the coast that cultivated the country’s natural beauty. Ecologically, Ghana is known for its tropical rain forest, beautiful beaches, lakes, waterfalls, rolling hills and rock formations. It is, as the ads say, “a nature-lover’s paradise.” Such rich territory also yields rich crops, which is tied to a dark history – and still a dark present – of slavery and greed. Which is to say where there is beauty, there will be those who wish to exploit it. Continue reading “The beauty of belonging”