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General News of Saturday, 28 December 2019

Source: Ben Dotse Malor

The Returnee’s guide, lessons and cautions in Ghana


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In part 1, we stated that Ghanaians are kind, courteous, considerate, compassionate, and God-fearing and would hate for any visitor to come to harm or experience any unpleasantness. But like in all societies, every visitor must be cautious and conscious of the few criminally-minded.

In that first part, we offered three precautions or warnings as follows:

1. Apathy and seeming lack of empathy from your brothers and sisters in Ghana:

Please don’t get angry if your Ghanaian brothers and sisters do not seem to realize, empathize, or sympathize with you regarding the horrors of the slave trade and your personal deep emotions about it during your visit to the Forts, Castles and dungeons. They do not hate you. Most simply do not know.

2. Don’t buy that land – not just yet: please, don’t immediately go for any land being offered for sale.

Don’t part with any monies yet, please. BE WARY, BECAUSE THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE WHO FRAUDULENTLY SELL THE SAME LAND TO MANY DIFFERENT BUYERS.

3. Don’t fall for, “I want you to be my wife”:

Accept the compliments and praise, but give your heart some breathing space in the Motherland. Love can come later. True love can always wait.

In this follow-up – PART II – we offer three important pointers under the sub-title, The Paradox of the African dream versus the American dream

GUIDE-CAUTION-ALERT TO THE RETURNEES – PART II – THE FOUR PARADOXES:

RETURNEE PARADOX 1 – THE AFRICAN DREAM VERSUS THE AMERICAN DREAM:

You, as a Diasporan returnee, would be surprised to discover that as you yearn to return to Ghana, The Motherland, and make it your home as a realization of your desire to return to your African roots, there are millions of Ghanaians – even the seemingly well to do – who would readily sell everything they own to go in the opposite direction – to settle in America; the land of the free, of milk and honey, and the “most advanced nation on earth” to achieve their “American dream.”

Recent news reports and stories from the Ghanaian media would tell you that pregnant women of means, especially those in government positions, have been choosing to have their babies in the USA rather than Ghana.

Many Ghanaians who would love to move to the US, wish to do so for various unquestionable reasons – educational, economic, or family reunion. So, if you’re a returnee from the USA, Europe, Canada or Australia, PLEASE, have it at the back of your mind that someone who is assisting you zealously and obsequiously is most probably hoping that you would be their ticket to going abroad. Never get stampeded into making any forced arrangements to help someone you recently met in Ghana to travel abroad. Take your time. Let it wait. Do not make any promises. Not just yet.

Returnee paradox 2 – don’t give up your American, Canadian, or European citizenship – as advised by AJ Amenyaglo:

Do not lose your American-ness in your headiness to become a “Motherlander”. I think you have no need to give up your US citizenship, for example, for a Ghanaian one. Dual citizenship is allowed in Ghana. As much as you feel dazzled, mesmerized, and amazed by the Motherland, please do not give up your “original” passport or citizenship – just yet. After all, your parents, grandparents, great grandparents and ancestors sacrificed so much to build the nation whose passport you’re carrying. Most paid with their lives.

Treasure that US passport for whatever little comfort and advantage it gives you. Unless you wish to vie for a top public office – like a Member of Parliament or Legislator, a Minister of State, or President in the Motherland– where the constitution requires that you cannot be a dual citizen, you should keep your current passport, for all it’s worth.

Returnee Paradox 3 – On fake/quick marriages – as advised by Dr Selete Avoke:

“It’s tantalizing, exciting, and exotic to be able to visit where your ancestors came from. At the same time there are some cautionary tales that you need to be aware of. This advice is especially for the ladies.

You will definitely meet guys who will say everything in the romantic lexicon to sweep you off your feet. Equally, some ladies may do the same thing to men. Be warned! While some may be genuine, some of these sweet talkers are only interested in your money or migrating to the USA.

Don’t immediately buy the narrative that they are truly in love with you. Additionally, one of the lines frequently used is that their father is a king or some royal, although we DO NOT necessarily have Kings in Ghana. Marriages in Ghana are between families and not individuals. If you don’t get to meet the extended family then run.

Finally, the first sign of deceit [or fraud] is when you are asked for money. Asking for money is a game changer. Enjoy Ghana. Think with your brains and leave your heart in the USA.

Please don’t come back to the USA with a broken heart and an empty bank account.

RETURNEE PARADOX 4 – DO THEY LOVE “WHITES’ MORE THAN ME? As a returnee, you’re going to encounter situations involving your Ghanaian brothers and sisters that can easily upend your enjoyment in the Motherland. Again, most Ghanaians simply do not like to see a foreigner or visitor suffering. Ghanaian generosity to strangers can be highly sacrificial and altruistic. Many believe in the adage that, “When you do good, you do it for yourself. And when you do bad, you also do it for yourself.”

The most visible stranger is the one of a different colour. That’s is why you’re going to see some Ghanaians extending extra kindness and attention to white visitors that you may not receive as a Black returnee.

You’re going to find yourself boiling about the way some Ghanaians would bend over backwards to accommodate the needs and request of our “white visitors” compared to our Black visitors. Sometimes, it would seem that we/Ghanaians/Africans still hold our white visitors in higher esteem than ourselves.

This is why you’ll still see a lot of images of a white Jesus in many of our churches. This is why the trinket sellers outside the slave forts, castles, and dungeons would (appear to) pay more attention to the white visitor than to you the dread-locked black sister from Chicago.

This is why you are black in Mississippi but can be called “Obroni” (or white person) in Ghana because you have a lighter skin and look fairer in complexion than the average Ghanaian. (BTW: A person with albinism is also called white person in the Ewe community where I grew up in the Volta Region.

This paradox requires a whole chapter, with some psychological, spiritual, and historical analyses and exploration for true emancipation.

For now, please, just beware of the paradox that you can be “Black” in the USA but “White” in Ghana.

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