Title Pending…

My mom had died. …She was no longer with us… I observed the moment and reflected on her and had to be ok with the decision I had to make: I could not attend the funeral. With me adding a grown man to my list of responsibilities my money was gone. And this grown man could not assist me in getting to the funeral.

In Ghana funerals are the last chance to show respect. In Ghana funerals can last a full week and the families involved come together to make certain it is a festive occasion. I’m guessing that since I was not Ghanaian that these rites did not extend to me, the convenient wife.   I reviewed how I felt about not being able to turn to my husband during this time. Leaning on him felt cheap and utterly wrong. He admitted that he was supposed to be the one to help me, but could do nothing. Nothing, despite the fact that his sisters had helped him to traipse back to Ghana. Nothing, despite the fact that he had not too long ago bought himself a new phone and Dre Beats headphones in lieu of helping our household.

The time had come for Emmanuel to go to Ghana. Supposedly he’d gotten a job in Ghana which was being held for him. I was suspicious and asked a lot of questions. Nothing added up, so I had to leave it and see how it would play out. Why would this company which had been non-existent since I met him all of a sudden want him? Which skills did he have that would warrant a company holding a job for him for months? What was his position?

His sisters came through for him for his ticket. Emmanuel pressed that I needed to give him money to go shopping because it wasn’t in their culture to return back from a country with no money nor gifts and also his own clothes were not new. I didn’t give a damn.

I did, however, go out to buy his daughter a few small items and I told him to tell the others I’ll see them later. Our plans were that Emmanuel would finally be making money and I would join him in Ghana later; he would send me some money to come to him there. I was not looking forward to going back to a boring village life, so we’d made plans to live in Accra instead of the countryside.

Emmanuel seemed to bolt when it was time for him to go. He took all the electronic gadgets claiming he could get money for them and that would help. I did not protest. I was grieving in my own way, so my feelings were not all registering to focus on him. I felt that at this moment someone, him, anybody, should have been focused on me…

I didn’t hear from Emmanuel upon his arrival. I’d warned him about reverse culture shock effects, but he’d pushed that thinking to the side stating that was for “white people”. Insert rolling eyes here.

Upon his arrival we did not talk alot. When we did talk it was about how expensive everything was and how dirty things were compared to the places we’d been traveling. He also reported on how his friends now had “things”. I tried to console him by stating that now he had a job he could get these “things” too. Our chats on the phone seemed to be because he needed someone to relate to his travels more.

I received a WhatsApp message: I do not want this marriage anymore. I am divorcing you.

You still haven’t bought the book. Nothing that you see on this blog is in the book. I don’t know if you’re ready for this roller coaster ride of a faux relationship. If you’re ready then it’s time that you read the book, Wanted: Green Card.

 

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Attack from An African Man

My ex has many faces. One that he always wore was to always smile. It was fake, despite how handsome he looked. Behind the smile he was judging you big time. If you were a non-brown person he deemed you as rich and ripe to give him money. If you were brown, depends on where you are from. Unfortunately I already knew his views on the USA and “black American” women, so I’d asked him never to say these things in front of my family or friends or else…they’d beat his ass.

I guess he was feeling in a sharing sort of mood one day. We were eating ice cream with 2 ladies of whom were teachers, black Americans. Between the 2 of them there is a serious love of teaching children coupled with the fact that they are educated with Master’s degrees in teaching. Truthfully, this type of woman is who I meet all the time in my travels: she is educated and most of the time traveling alone, doing her thang. Emmanuel decided they needed a new type of teaching about the women that they were: black American women who needed his guidance.

He went on to share how black American women are loud and aggressive and they have no idea how to be in a realationship. Imagine the discomfort this caused to the other 2 women of whom were out for a day to relax and enjoy the mall. I was embarrassed. I did the usual social things such as trying to redirect the conversation over to something else, but he wasn’t following me. I even suggested that if he wanted to go to the bathroom, he should…yeah, nothing. I did the soft touches and nudges to try to get his attention…still, nothing. The 2 ladies were getting more and more uncomfortable.

Once Emmanuel finished his tirade of what black American women are and how lazy black American people are in general – the ones of which he’d heard about and saw on television, as he’d never actually visited the USA to know from firsthand experience, the ladies went in. Not in the manner in which he summarized, but in an intelligent sit-yo-ass-down type of manner. He had become what he was mocking, alas, the dumb African man.

In the end Emmanuel and I argued in front of the ladies about how he was insulting other black American women of whom may not have it all together yet and we already had centuries of caucasians to tell us what he was saying. We certainly didn’t want to hear it from him. He called himself dismissing me and stating: “Ah, if we were in my country I would send you home to your father!” I think I was supposed to be offended and I think this statement was supposed to put me in my place, wherever that was, but because I do not have the same background as the ladies in Ghana it sounded more like misogyny and an attempt to shame me which pissed me off even more.

Emmanuel allowed the dumbness to shine through and he let others see what I had been seeing. We have all heard of how Africans do not like African Americans and vice versa. I’ve heard all kinds of statements directly from the mouths of Nigerians I’ve met along the way. It is based in a false sense of being superior.

We can blame nationality, ethnicity, culture, economics and education. In essence there are very little cultural differences between the 2 people from these different lands. There are only egos and a false sense of pride wrapped in the word “culture”. Being ratchet or village – it’s all the same. No judgment needed.

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Ghanaian woman in a trotro

The same single moms in America are equally caring for their children in Ghana. In Ghana they will reserve their words and pray about it rather than react to it in a way that acknowledges that they are really stressed about that Ghanaian man leaving them with all those kids and the fact that she is working hard to maintain the household alone. Reacting and not reacting become the disease which equates to the loudness or the slowness to the black American lady or the West African woman. The Ghanaian lady may have some relief by having a small community of people to send the child elsewhere – the same happens in the USA. This can lead to an aloofness of care. Either way the stress will remain at home with the mother who will pass it on to the child in one form or another. Overall, if you continue to send your child to someone else’s house because you cannot cope due to depression or any other ailment, then you don’t notice that little Emmanuel is developing sociopathic tendences and you may need to pay attention to him so that he doesn’t grow up to be an asshole. Also, mental problems are not seen as an issue in Ghana. You simply pray about it and it will go away. We all know it does not go anywhere, it only gets worse. But to further admit there is a mental issue will mean that you will be placed in the crazy house a facility of which you may be chained to a tree for the day. Ghana is on the humanitarian watchlist for such acts.

If you visit west Africa, the masses of the people are locked in the same circumstances as poor African-Americans. The only difference is that it may look shabbier. In observation, both groups, from both lands seem content to do nothing other than what they are currently doing. Emmanuel’s own personal plight was the exact same. He had no forwarrd thinking plans that he had ever shared with me. All of the plans were mine because I was on a mission before I met him. My track record was filled with winning and losing, which further showed my ability to be flexible and adapt while still moving forward. I had no problems sharing them with him because if we’re on the same team, then we need to assist each other in meeting these goals and know the others’ weakness to compensate for those times.

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African American woman in the USA – tending to her business. (Oprah)

When I would ask him he would say he wanted to have his house built and own a big screen television. I’d already had this and was looking forward to something else in life. Later he would state that he wanted to go to the USA in order to “get a job”. I had to always remind him that the jobs he saw on television were if you had the education to obtain the job or start a business of your own and don’t forget that there are those who are born in that country who are looking for jobs too. If you did not have that, then you were in for a few years of hardship and struggle in order to arrive at that point. Emmanuel had no higher level education so that would mean that he would have to obtain a GED and then get in to a university or college while I was supporting us still or while he worked parttime at WalMart or at a restaurant. I did not want what he was saying and I’d made that very clear even before we said “I do”. Besides, how are you going to get those things that you speak of without a clear plan of action and reachable goals? All the items that I am even listing such as a parttime job, means of housing, etc, he had not even mentioned. He only had his sights on reaching the promised land known as the USA. Emmanuel relied upon me to bring the ideas, reach the goals, and to bring the money for him to step up and out of his situation. Emmanuel had not held down a job nor an entrepreneurial pursuit in years before I met him. The plan was that I was the plan. His sisters and his mother provided for him, so he expected the same from me. They had already instilled and perpetuated a sense of entitlement. No hustle whatsoever other than to use.

In his lack of knowledge, education, and insight he failed to even realize that when you visit parts of West Africa you will also notice there is not really a sense of pride in the way those of us of whom are not born there have. I used to attend African drumming and dance classes weekly while living in Atlanta, Georiga. You have to ask  around to find that in Ghana. And when you find it it is not filled with the locals, but foreigners. The traditional drumming is a hustle for money, not to indulge in culture of the past or to enhance the cultural bond. As is the visits to the slave dungeons. I’ve been personally offended, like my soul was on fire, from visiting a dungeon in Ghana to find that the locals were living in it and weren’t very clean with it either. You are also expected, as a black American to pay double what the locals would pay. The money is used for their everyday pay, not to refurbish or maintain the integrity of the place.

So the stereotype that Emmanuel was referring to and had decided to make a part of his doctrine of life on black American women is in his own country. There are exceptions and all that, but parenting “as an oppressed, working-class, tired and alone woman does not come with manuals nor support collectives, but we’re so glad that you can sit there and just look while you are entertained.” (quote from a dope therapist, Iresha Picot – gasp! A black America, with her educated self.)

African American women, and our sisters of other beautiful brown skin tones, why do we have to explain anything at all? I think I just had an epiphany: we don’t. Do you, talk to someone about the issue and stay on your path to greatness. Do not allow the beating up of our image nor personality with its perfections and flaws to become a post that someone else can beat up on because their penis is shrinking due to being challenged on their b.s. Misautogeny – hatred of one’s own race .

Share this post and make certain to buy the book, Wanted: Green Card. Nothing that you read here is in the book – it’s waaaayy juicier. 

A Good Catch

I decided that while I was in Ghana I would check out a possible business venture. I met Patrick online because he posted about his company needing marketing help. His company was just getting started and he was researching, testing, and using his own funds for fish feed, the aquaculture field. I thought that was admirable and I could immediately see a possible marketing angle to reach the fish farmers. I also had a keen interest in the topic as I read about it as a past time on home fish farming. We started chatting online and I met with him about me assisting with his fish feed’s product line. We hit it off and began correspondence for moving it forward.

Patrick explained that he always went “in to the fields” to get to know the fish farmers. I was already down, well, because it’s on the go, where I belong. We were set to leave to some rural parts of Ghana. Before we left he told me to check with my husband to be certain it was ok. “Darling, are you serious? Where they do that?” No, he will understand because this is business. This topic actually was a part of the agenda of 2 of our meetings, as I was the only lady with himself and another guy who was over accounting. I let them chatter about this supposed issue and told them I would be ready when the time came. I also had to decline being the secretary and taking notes for each of the meetings. I suggested that we each take turns until he found someone to hire for such a duty. The note taking became less of an issue when it was their turn to write for the meeting.

We set off on the bus and it took a while to reach over the horrible roads and bad traffic, but we finally did. We did not stay at a hotel, as that was not in the budget. We stayed at a friend of a friend’s house on a compound. Compound life in rural Ghana is interesting and very communal. I love it! When you wake up you greet the elders sitting outside waiting on everyone to wait on them. haha – now that’s the ultimate gig. The younger girls fetch water to warm in the open fire pot so everyone can take a shower, and another team of ladies get food ready. All this while the children are playing and the different types of chicken and fowl are clucking about the yard.

We awoke early the next morning – the part I am not a huge fan of. It seems that all over Ghana a regular and normal time to begin calling people and knocking on doors is 7a.m. Yeah, too early. I think 9a.m. sounds MUCH better. Anywho, we set off on dirt roads and fields to visit the handful of fish farmers in the area. The goal was to give out samples and also to sell for future orders. Patrick’s challenge was his youthfulness in his age and the age of his business, so I consulted that he focus on his empirical data and research and show that information. It was working! Many of the fish farmers were particularly interested in his price points too.

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Fish responding to the feed

We walked and caught taxis all day and did not finish until the sun went down. We were both dirty, dusty, and hungry.

“What will you be cooking us tonight?” he asked.

“Not a damn thang.” was going to be my first response, but then I did not want my Alabama southerness to come out so instead I balked. My next reaction was to chuckle as surely he was joking, right? We both had been in the fields all day and you’re asking me what I will be cooking. That’s a quick way to get cussed out.

I informed Patrick that I would not be cooking. His company would either be paying for us some street food or providing the food to the compound so they could cook. As for me, I will be there to eat alongside of him. He only half smiled and got quiet.

Patrick is in his early 20s, dark and handsome. With his passion for the business he is definitely on his way because of his entrepreneurial mindset. As in Ghana, and in many other countries, he lives with his parents at this moment. He talks all the time about his land and how he will build a house before he marries so his wife and he can immediately start their family. Does he sound like a good catch, ladies?

*Latoya ended up having to quit the team because it seemed to always be a question as to her loyalty because she was posting on Facebook about all the fun places she was going and enjoying her time while in Ghana. As per Patrick, women do not go out like this all the time. He asked Latoya for the 3rd time about her being loyal to the company and Latoya quit so that she would not hold up any more of his mental agenda as to what she was doing on her own time. Now you can read the embarrassing journey of being in a scam of a marriage – Wanted: Green Card

 

 

Blended Family

My daughter arrived. It had already been like hell to get her to me, but she had finally arrived to Ghana. My mother was not approving of “this African” who was making me move to Africa. Little did she know that I was the one who wanted to move and moving abroad completely had always been in my vision.

My daughter arrived and I could not place how I was going to make it work with us now living in such a small village. No tennis nor Chinese lessons, sometimes no lights and questionable internet. The dark ages to us. I couldn’t place what she would do in order to continue pursuing the path she was already on educationally. A part of my brilliant idea and response to this was to stop homeschooling and to have her join the other children at the local school.

The best local school in the area was Christian lead and USA affiliated. I was skeptical on both counts. I went to visit the school. There was not much to it. It seemed to share a campus with some adult nurse schools and sat with 3 buildings on it’s immediate campus. Emmanuel and I were given a tour of the school and the Assistant Headmaster was thrilled to have us there. Our daughters lagged behind us pretending they were not interested in the children who were looking at us curiously.

The school building where the youngest would be was simple and open. The chalkboard looked worn and tired from the weather and years of usage. There were no lights on in any of the buildings. The school building where the oldest would be was simple and open. Not much to talk of in the way of decorations. There were none. The students’ chairs with desks were the highlight of the room along with the weary looking chalkboard. We sat down to talk about the fees while in the office of the assistant Headmaster. He mentioned the rate and I calculated the Ghana cedis in to U.S. dollars: the equivalent of about $40 for the semester. I was not excited I was worried about the cheapness of the price and what that would entail to them learning. Also, supposedly, this was the best school in the area.

I paid the money in full for the 2 girls for the semester. I noticed the fee for a computer lab, but could not recall seeing such a room or building. It was explained that the building was yet to built. I wondered how they would have computers running if there was no electricity. I later learned the fee had been tacked on for a few years now with no computer lab building in sight.

The girls would receive their books once they attended in full uniform. We set off to get measurements for their school uniforms. These were ugly uniforms – a lime green long skirt and a white shirt. The uniforms were easy to attract the wafting dirt from the roads so then the uniforms would look permanently dirty. The seamstress agreed to the price which was equivalent to $30 for making 2 uniforms for each of the girls. Emmanuel warned me to only pay half now. If I paid all of the money upfront I may not get the uniforms in a timely manner if at all. So to avoid me coming back later to have an argument at this seamstress’ shop, I paid half of the money upfront.

The girls seemed to be in the honeymoon phase with their schooling. His daughter had never attended this so called “best” school in this area. She had only attended the public school which was closer to her grandmother’s home, but she knew many of the children from her area. She did not seem to be doing well in her class and I had to step in to evaluate where she was in her learning. It seemed she was very far behind. Her English reading was very low in speaking and comprehension, however, she could read the words on the page. I could feel the stubborn nature clench down as I tried to help her with her comprehension. I concluded that she needed to be taken back at least 2 grades for comprehending what she was reading, otherwise, she would just be passed along without knowing what she is reading in order to  matriculate. I continued to work with Manuela and hoped that she would catch on. Each Saturday morning she would come to the house and we would proceed to simply chat in English and the book became secondary to these tutoring sessions.

I think that my daughter was using the school for social hours. I read and reviewed her work from her notebooks and it was standard textbook items. One day she came home and announced: “They don’t do anything.” I smiled and was proud because she realized it on her own. She continued to share that most of the day the class is talking and the teacher is on her phone. In between that the teacher tells them to stop talking, they eat, go for recess, then finish their day sitting in the class. Other times the teacher would say some notes from a book, but otherwise, there was no schedule. She decided to change from learning Nzema because they mostly spoke English in the class. She changed to French and learned that there too mostly they were speaking in the pidgin English. I left her in the school to give her a lesson in non-productivity. It worked because she would come home and do the homeschooled assignments with zest.

When we lived in the USA I was always heading a homeschool cooperative or involved in something for the after school programs. Here in Kikam I decided to get involved. It would seem easy enough because no parents were involved. They were all busy tending their farms or thought that the school was there as the authority so therefore they did not have to get involved. Since I was seeing the cracks in the system I visited the school to see what I could do to assist.

schoolyard

I wanted to put in to place a garden. The children could tend to it and learn some

hands on science and it would beautify the school grounds. It was suggested that I pay for this improvement. I chuckled at yet another time that I should pay for it and work to make it better by myself. This was not the first time this was suggested. Since I was being asked to share my money, naturally I wanted to get down to the budget of the school. Why are there no funds for beautification? Was it necessary for there to be a fee increase in order to sustain this?

Me and my American ways. At this small school the money came in, but many times did not make it to where it needed to be. I followed the online trail to the school’s USA affiliate, NGO, and sponsor. The online look boasted supporting a school where the children were smiling and just happy to be alive. I even recognized one of the girls from the school in the photos, so this was recent photography. The NGO was proud to record the amount of money being sent to the school. They even had a photo of the new projector that was gifted to the school – why gift it if there are no lights, I thought.

I pointed this out to Emmanuel and he advised to leave it alone. He shared that that is how they are making a living by getting funds to use for their own cars, homes, and education elsewhere for their own children. If I got involved they would probably find a way to get rid of me or to put roots and voodoo on me in the name of Jesus.

One of the more laid back posts, but now you are getting a jist of the background to the book, Wanted: Green Card.

Bills vs. Luxury

Do you know the feeling of neglect? Do you know how it feels to feel devalued in your home and with your own husband? I do. It’s not a good feeling either. It is infuriating and yet the most helpless one could be of being in control of one’s self worth – or so we tell ourselves in our minds.

It had been a month full of me finessing my workload to accommodate my newest child a.k.a. my husband. It was not going well and we were not seeing eye to eye on so many things. I had to ask him again if he had any mental illness in his family because the way that I kept mulling over the plans we should have been good and stable by now. Emmanuel took my questioning to be an insult, as usual, but I was serious. I wasn’t trying to be funny, I was trying to get to the bottom as to why he wasn’t falling in to his place as head of our household.

A light appeared at the end of the hope tunnel one day as he declared that he was going out by himself to just see things and to give me a break. I was delighted inwardly, but apprehensive. What could I do but allow this to play itself out. I continued on with my day and went to allow my mind to rest – alone and happily window shopping at the mall.

My daughter and I returned to an empty house so we set about our evening and settled in to watch a movie. We heard the door open with the usual rattle of the blinds on the door and then promptly close. Then the sound of footsteps with a “good evening” came next. We both greeted him and his 2 big bags of things. I smiled in anticipation and wonderment as to where the money came from to buy these things.

Emmanuel was smiling ear to ear, so I waited as he opened his bags of things. He produced a new set of Dre Beats headphones – very stylish as we’d sampled them at the mall a few weeks ago. Next the phone! It was nice and sleek just as Samsung would want their product to be presented. Some new shoes made their debut and were just his size and fit him nicely.

So where was my gift, you ask? Ah, the last item to emerge was a necklace. A necklace that could be bought on any street in Bangkok. A necklace of 1 piece of leather with an emblem made of fake whatever, don’t even fuckin’ matter. WTH is this? I thought. So, you bought yourself all this new and latest shit and you bought me a cheap necklace from a street vendor.

leatherropenecklace

My daughter promptly left the room as my thoughts became words.

“So, you bought yourself these things for yourself and you didn’t come home or call me to see which bills needed to be paid?!” Emmanuel continued his smile and said that his sisters sent him the money and advised him that he was only to spend it on himself.

If this were ever true there is a good place in Hell for women who treat other women this way. And yet, that still may be too good for them. I still tend to believe that his sisters did say something like this because he lied so much about his current situation in the house. At the same time, it wasn’t a secret that I was keeping from them that their brother was not manning up. So, instead of them sending the money to help him help his household they sent him money for him to enjoy as if he’d been the one working to maintain a household. This muthafucka didn’t do any business worth having a new Samsung phone!

From then on Emmanuel could never leave those items anywhere near my reach. My plans were to pour bleach on them and slam them as hard up against the wall as I could, then drop them off the balcony if necessary. I could never find them in the house when he was not around either. I think he started carrying all of his more important items with him or hiding them outside instead of in the house with me.

I think we both had the mental problem: me for putting up with being used and him for thinking that I would consult with him on any financial decisions of the household from then on. What would you have done?

None of what you are reading here is in the book, Wanted: Green Card. Share this story with a lady (or man) who is going through the same. 

Children Do Not Get Pillows

We had just come in from shopping. The sun was not nice and I was hot and sweaty. We walked the half dirt, half grassy road to our house. I was glad to be back at home. I as losing interest in shopping Ghanaian style. The markets were not presentable and pleasant and instead were done as if they were an afterthought. It’s as if someone said, “Oh yeah, we’re going to have a market for others to come and buy things from us.” They did not prepare their stands, but set a cloth down to hold the bruised fruits and vegetables. Their umbrellas which should entice us to wonder what’s there were dirty and truly were for the purpose of the seller, not to invite the customers. The pathways were filled with hot and sweaty people on the look out of their own shopping quests.

It could be easy for me to organize it. It’s a market, I have visited those in other countries before: clean walkways, places to sit and eat comfortably from the sweltering sun, some music over a loud speaker. But this would require planning and thought towards making sure that those who come to the market want to stay around to shop. That’s the opposite of this Ghanaian market.

All 4 of us get in to the house and settle in to rest up before bathing. We were drinking ice cold water and I thought out loud about going to Takoradi next weekend in order to buy pillows for the girls. It had already been 1 week since Manuela joined us. It took a struggle to get her there, but she was finally there and I needed to start getting her to open up more. I wanted her to feel comfortable with me and getting used to other types of things. It seemed that I lost the battle of her having her own bed. She had her own room, just as my daughter did. My daughter had her room with a twin bed. Manuela had the floor with a sheet thrown on the floor. I had gotten her a table and gifted her books from my daughter’s collection that were beyond her age. I made certain to also buy her an arts set because she seemed interested in drawing and colors.

I continued my thoughts out loud for my trek to Takoradi for pillow buying. My husband, Emmanuel, interjected: “Aba! Pillow? And for what?” in his Ghanaian accent that I had grown to love hearing; especially if he was going to say something like a joke. He continued: “What do they need a pillow for?”

I offered: “Well, they usually go on the bed. We have them on ours. I’ll just get one for her.”

Emmanuel continued in the joking mannerm which I liked, but now I was hoping that he was not serious.

“In my culture children do not get pillows.”

Oh shit. He serious.

“Are you serious?” I had to check.

He was serious: “Aba! What job does she do?! Does she work?” he questioned.

I thought this was the FUNNIEST joke! I laughed and was snorting, bent over in my chair in amusement. My laughter rang through the house. I’m sure he thought that I was laughing at his wit and his ability to be funny and sarcastic with his supposed cultural tendencies versus my American ways.

I was laughing because he did not work and had not had a job since before I met him, yet he had 2 pillows, nice sheets, and quality towels.

Photo belongs to Reflektiondesign.com

Photo belongs to Reflektiondesign.com

*This and more to come as Latoya explores her feelings and shares what happened in her scam of a marriage to a man who wanted to obtain a green card and visa to the USA. Comment if you can relate or if you have questions about being in a scam of a marriage.