Met Him In Person…

The map on the console still had a long red line to our destination. I awoke for the 5th time to enjoy some of the food being served. I think I’m now forever loyal to international travel, I thought. Domestic airlines in the U.S. suck. I did not want the flight to end because of it’s amenities, but I was finally on my way to see my dark chocolate African prince. He’d shared that his family was in the lineage of Kings, but they stepped down because there was only 1 king and his name was Jesus. That was stupid, I thought. Certainly Jesus would understand and not think that you are competing, right? The family decided to chase riches in heaven and not on earth so now they prayed a lot instead of counting gold and land like the other Kings in the area.

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I had only been chatting online with Emmanuel for a few months. I had already made it up in my head that if I went and no one was there I was still going to set out to enjoy the sites of Ghana. If I felt uncomfortable when I met him, I would also still enjoy the sites of Ghana. Either way, I had 15 days to enjoy this country and it was going to happen with or without a love interest from Facebook.

I settled in to watch another movie and wait for dinner to be served. I wish I enjoyed alcoholic beverages. I could recline and take a few sips. I chose apple juice instead and placed my earbuds in my ears to enjoy the movie. By morning I would be at my destination!

The soft ding from the bell of the airplane aroused me from my sleep. It seems it was the sound for my heart to begin racing quicker – like the signal for the beginning of  a race. I was nervous, not certain what to expect, but here I went. A smooth landing and a few fumbling hands on my passport and I was standing outside of Kotoka International Airport thinking it was a dream because it was so DAMN hot. Like, this hot was as if someone were angry and they didn’t really want to be bothered with you so they made it hot so you can go somewhere else. I went back inside the airport to check to be sure it wasn’t just me. It wasn’t.

My eyes combed the crowd looking for his familiar face. Finally they rested on the handsome guy I’d seen in the photos on Facebook. He was real! We hugged and fussed, then boarded a taxi and set off to get to know the person we’d been typing to on the internet.

The book, Wanted: Green Card, shares an experimental presentation – nothing on this blog will appear in the book. The book is full of the spiciness that is called “love gone wrong”. 

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.

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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. 

A Night Out

The evening was coming and we knew the sun was going to take a rest from shining on us all day. I wanted to go out, but in a real way, not in the small-township-of-Kikam way, but that opportunity was over 6 hours away by bus and it was too late to hop on an airplane to Accra. Instead I would have to settle for our usual outing from this week which consisted of going to visit Emmanuel’s mother, then a series of visiting the local spots (bars).

I was always on the look out for other couples and there simply weren’t any. I was learning that the duties of the wife here were encouraged more than enjoying oneself and being out of the house – as if that was frowned upon. Being out of the house was reserved more for funerals and child naming ceremonies. Otherwise, you are at home cleaning/washing/cooking or at the market selling to make an income.

We locked up the house and set off down the half dirt, half grassway towards his mother’s house. She was sitting on her porch this evening and she smiled when she saw us. I greeted her in my broken Nzema: “Apoke newe?” She always smiled when I tried and she would often say something to me, but many times Emmanuel would not bother to translate what she was saying so I would fill the space with me joking and we would all laugh. We sat with her and her and Emmanuel spoke. I’m sure it was gossip from how they would lean in and listen to each other and at times whisper. Emmanuel’s daughter was darting about in the yard fetching water to prepare her bath. I tried to practice English with her, but she did not seem to want to welcome the lesson. Emmanuel overheard her trying with her English and he immediately began to chastise her for not wanting to learn. I could only make out “kwasia” which meant dumbass in English. I asked him why would he do that and he would only smile and say that she should want to learn to do well in school. This daughter-father relationship was an unusual one to me, not endearing, just dogmatic and they seemed very comfortable in it.

We said our good nights and went out on the town – as much as that meant for this town, that is. A spot in Ghana is synonymous with a club except not as boisterous. You go, enjoy your drink with some kebabs, but no dancing is done.

The first spot was playing the usual electronic organ induced Ghanaian music loudly. I would think that the loudness would signify how many people were inside, but once we stepped in we were 2 of 4 people. One person was the bartender. We sat at 1 of the 2 tables available and sat down. The bartender came to take our order. Emmanuel, as usual, ordered Star beer and I ordered a Fanta. We sat and listened to the music sometimes with our own thoughts and other times with Emmanuel proudly looking at his ring, then comparing his ring to mine. We both smiled at each other. Once our drinks arrived usually Emmanuel would have another Star beer.

By this time I learned to pace my sugary drinks because this was not the last spot we would go to. Besides the drinks not being good for me, when it came time to release there were no bathrooms to go to. I would have to do it village style. Village style, from what I had observed, was standing to pee inside of a field of bushes or squatting to pee behind a house or wall. No tissue nor water to cleanse yourself unless you brought it. Then you wipe and go or shake it and go. None of the spots nor restaurants had running water to clean your hands, so you had to buy a sache of water to pour over your hands to rinse them. Since I always chose not to pee in this fashion the only other choice was to make the trek back home, which was too much walking to have to do in order to come back out.

We made our trek to the other spots in pretty much the same fashion at each one. There was a highlight because at one place Emmanuel wanted to sit outside instead of inside, so the bartender had to bring a table and chairs outdoors for us. We enjoyed the breeze and the passersby as the loud music invited everyone at this bar to stand outside. No dancing, just standing. Sometimes a feeling would creep up in to my mind that I was being shown off so that people would know who I belonged to. I did not have the correct questions to bring this forward, so I didn’t.

After me having 3 Fantas the evening was complete. I was surprised at how Emmanuel did not seem to be tipsy after drinking 2 Star beers at each spot. I was prepared to help him home if necessary, but he always seemed to hold his composure after drinking so much.

We walked the long distance back to the house. Sometimes we would smile and talk about politics. It seemed he was very proud of Ghana despite it’s poor leadership. I would often question what is there to be proud of if your leadership receives and borrows so much money, but cannot find a way to put it in to the infrastructure and is only thinking of their families and immediate friends. Neither of us had an answer. Also, it wasn’t as if I was an expert on what good country leadership looked like, so we would move on to other topics as we walked the distance away from the loud spots and in to the solitude of the crickets and the distant clap of the ocean.

*I know what you’re thinking: this one wasn’t like the last one. Well, duh. Not every step of my life is like our beloved reality shows. Smile. But thank you for staying tuned for the upcoming book: Wanted: Green Card to be available on Amazon soon. 

I Love You & You Too

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I felt nothing as I read the messages from the French lady whom we’d met while in Cambodia. I shifted my weight on my butt cheeks to be certain, but yeah, I felt nothing. I leaned back in the chair and inhaled slowly…still, nothing. I calmly read all the messages  – from the time we’d met her while in Cambodia in her sister’s jewelry store to where they were chatting in French because he claimed he wantd to learn it better. All the way to where she said she truly wanted to help and was telling Emmnanuel that he needs to communicate better with me, his wife, if I were not providing enough for him to live on. As per him I had not given him money for him to buy shoes and jeans for himself. I silently agreed with her about him communicating better. I was glad that she did not jump on the wagon to jump on him and be with him. She did not have to because he did. In the messages he was promising he was in love with her. Damn, that was quick. We’d all only just met about 1 week before when we visited Cambodia. We only stayed around her sister’s store for about 1 hour talking and chatting and admiring the jewelry. But here he was professing his love. “I am done with this marriage. I want to marry you.” I had to scroll back up to reread that line and thought: “Girl!!!! Please come and get him. You’ll be done with him soon too. Trust, it won’t last.”

I had been reading Emmanuel’s messages on his Facebook profile. I had figured out the password and was reading it. It was 2a.m. I left the internet cafe about 30 minutes before coming from an online meeting with a client in a different time zone. Emmanuel had accompanied me to the internet cafe, but when I said I was ready to go he stayed. I walked home alone back to our apartment wondering why it was that I was walking alone and he was staying behind.

I walked back to the cafe and his full attention was on the screen. He was smiling broadly as if the person were sitting next to him. He was eager and in to the on screen conversation. I walked up behind him and he was startled. I sat down next to him.

“I read the messages you and her have been exchanging.” I touched his arm for added effect and to let him know non-verballly that I was ok.

“I am ok with it. I agree. This marriage is over and you 2 should go and be happy together.”

“Ahh!!!! You! Get away from me! I don’t know what you are talking about. You only want to argue!” he yelled.

I was taken aback because I thought I was setting him free and finally I could be free from whatever this type of relationship was. He was offended?! No, you don’t get to be offended, caught, and then try to turn it on me that I like to argue. I yelled back and left the cafe to go back home.

How dare he try to turn this shit on me! I’m not the one chatting in to the morning with women online. I am online working while he is trying to romance and move on to the next possibility of a visa.

The rage I felt was huge. I couldn’t make sense out of this behavior. It was counterproductive to the road I wanted to be on and yet, here I was in the thick of it. My world interrupted and disturbed because I chose someone who is selfish and in it only for themselve. I was in another country and no crew to call to complain to and no support system. I was tired of this shit and I wanted instant justice and a comforting

Emmanuel always had a thing about looking good and his image. I never could understand the vanity he had, but it was always present when he wanted to criticize me for paying for my daughter’s education instead of buying clothes or shoes for myself.

Yes, his clothes are a good target and the knife is the perfect tool for this. I set about cutting up his clothes like an artist. The French woman will take care of him anyway, as she may fall for his love lines. She can buy him new clothes. I wasn’t done and still upset about his behavior towards me while I’m being sincere in him moving on. I called him to let him know that I was cutting up his clothes – me and my anger issues. Miraculously he was home within minutes!

He came in to the house quietly and in disbelief. I looked up from my newfound craft of cutting artistry and dared him to say anything or to do anything. I had spoken without speaking. He turned around and left.

Little did I know that my husband had not just left the apartment, but had abandoned me. No talking in a civilized manner as I’d tried to approach him, no phone call to me to explain that he’d moved on, he just left with the clothes he was wearing and his passport. I learned it 2 days later when I logged in to his Facebook account and could locate his location based upon his latest log in location. I was in shock and so hurt from this. This man whom I’d claimed as my husband never had any money to contribute to his household, nor me, had flown to Ghana on a last minute flight. I initially thought it was the French lady who helped him, but I learned that his sister paid for the ticket for him to flee Bangkok and get back to Ghana – “to safety” was her words.

Ain’t that a bag of interesting: you can send money for him to leave me, but no one has money for him to help his household with paying the bills and rent.

*Are you like, “Wow!”? Share this post with your friends so that they can learn more about what Latoya went through being married to a man who married to receive a green card and get to the USA. The items shared here are not in the book, Wanted: Green Card

Your Mother Says You Don’t Listen

Kikam is a township and far away from Accra, the main city. Kikam’s charm is the beach which served as the backyard to many. Selling fish, having a spot to sell beer, and driving a taxi or trotro are the ways to make money. Otherwise, the funeral ceremonies are a way for a party filled with Christian songs and all night music. Needless to say I was bored out of my mind. I needed a beer or 6, but since I am no drinker I decided not to test the limits of the acquired taste to see what version of Latoya would come out.

Chill Beach Setting

Somehow I ended up on my own – I can’t seem to remember how that came about, but I was alone for the first time in a long time since arriving. Helen, Emmanuel’s stepmother, was home as usual and I stopped to talk to her. Well, when I say talk, more like nod and try to hand signal what I wanted to say. She did not speak any English. I did not speak Nzema. Despite how excited I was to learn and start making mistakes in the language so I could learn quickly, Emmanuel discouraged me and was not as hyped as I was. He kept saying that the language was not easy as I was thinking and simply did not teach me. Emmanuel’s daughter was her grandmother’s caretaker and usually always around. Her own English speaking was about 5% better than Helen, so that meant that I was going to be doing hand signals to communicate.

Helen had a bad hip or a bad back, I couldn’t figure out which one. But sometimes she could not straighten up all the way in order to walk. This evening she was half cocked and giving Manuela orders on what to do. Fetch the water from the well, start the fire, go buy this, come give me that. Once the little 9 year old was done with her duties and the food was underway Helen sat me down in front of her. We just smiled and went in to our own thoughts. I’m sure she had a lot to say, but had no idea what to say.

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“Lah-toy-ya. Something-something-something Adiaba e le tio.” Her and Manuela laughed. I was still trying to figure it out as she repeated the same line over and over.

Finally, I caught on that she wanted me to repeat after her: Adiaba, e le tio. She kept saying it to me as one would who is trying to teach a child. I did not know what it meant, but I still remember the words in Nzema.

Emmanuel returned and greeted us. I smiled and was glad to know some Nzema so that I could share it with him. I had been trying to show him how good of a student I was and hoping that he would take the time to teach me. It seemed he’d declared that with my American ways I thought I could learn the language easily and quickly and if he didn’t help me that would make it more difficult.

“Adiaba, e le tio.” I proudly said. He looked a bit taken aback and asked where I’d learned that. His stepmother chimed in and since I now had an interpreter I got to learn what it meant. It meant, Adiaba, listen. This struck me as a bit odd, but I accepted it. Your stepmother sat me down and gave me a good clue as to you as she knows you. She did not teach me endearing terms such as Adiaba, I love you. Not, Adiaba, I missed you, but Adiaba, listen. That means she often thinks of you as a persn who does not listen.

*Still more to come as Latoya reflects on her memories of being caught up in a sham of a marriage to a man with a plan to get to the USA. Be on the lookout for her new book, Wanted: Green Card on Amazon. 

Feelings Typed

I’ve been kicked out of some of the Facebook groups related to women in relationships with African men. Supposedly the groups are set up to be support groups. It seems my reality does not match where they are currently in their own relationships AND they do not want to receive such negativity in their lives. Ok, but this is not for you, this is for those who are realizing that their marriage is not to an African King and he is a bottom bitch.
I belong to 1 group now where I haven’t been kicked out…yet. The ladies share their struggles, pains, and triumphs as they go through the visa process to bring their husbands to them in their own home countries.
Below is a conversation I had with a friend of whom is in the Facebook group. She shall remain anonymous, but her husband had been cheating and she found out that one of the ladies in one of the Facebook groups was flirting with her husband. More background on her story is that she and her husband had been going through the visa process for 2 years. She could only visit her husband once a year to him in his home country in Ghana. I try to check in on her regularly and we always have good, soul searching conversations and she has allowed me to share some of our conversation here as she is in her healing process:
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This real conversation is not just words on a screen, but 2 people coping and living through pain and disappointment. Stay tuned for more as Latoya Brown shares memories and reflections on being married to a man who thought he could use her to get to the USA for a green card and visa. Look out for her new book on Amazon, Wanted: Green Card, where she reveals it all. 

Threats = Peace?

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.

 

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.