The Africa you never read about…
I know for many people who enjoy temperate climate on the other side of the globe, when they hear of Africa, the mental picture it conjures is that of naked and malnourished children running in muddy waters with flies following them around. For such persons, Africa represents hunger, poverty, civil war, corruption and lack of civilization. And I don’t blame them much. That’s what they have been informed or choose to believe.
As long as they keep up with the gory photos and stories, people can keep up with their shady ‘charity organizations’ and ask for donations for their own selfish purposes. And for some of us down here, as long as you dash them some fresh notes, they will show you more than you even expect. What can I say? Misery is profitable for those benefitting from telling the story.
I’m in no way debunking some of the stories you’ve heard or photos you’ve seen. Things are bad in some parts for sure but just as there are two parts to any story, there is a side to Africa you may have never heard of or expected.
For non-Africans who have had a chance to visit the continent, (depending on which location they stopped at), they saw bustling cities. Everyone is ambitious enough to earn himself a decent living. Our culture celebrates and respects success in material terms so everyone wants to do his bid at least for the sake of self-preservation.
Since Ghana prides herself to be the black star of Africa, let me tell you about my location. Ghana is very hospitable to foreigners; sometimes a little too much, if I’m to be honest. We go out of our way to make visitors feel welcome and special even to our own inconvenience. But do our fair-skinned counterparts bother to do same if we happen to visit their countries? Most of the time, the reception is as cold as their weather. We know this but we can’t help it; we are just that nice.
Africa prides herself in her culture of color, chieftaincy, traditions, family and entertainment. Our government systems may not be the best examples of running our societies but our traditions still seem to be effective.
Our naming culture is inspiring and full of stories. In Ghana for instance, we are named after the day we are born. Regardless of the Christian/English or European name given during christening (can you believe we are now becoming so bold so as to give our children Russian names? Vladimir, for crying out loud!), you have the day name for life. Each day name has its expected personality traits and amazingly, people tend to live out these personalities.
Africa has a warm soul, beautiful sights, delicious food and welcoming people. But don’t be too naïve though; some seem to have a knack of duping you out of your socks if you lose guard. I wish I could tell you more but some things are better experienced first-hand.
And one thing before I forget, please AFRICA ISN’T A COUNTRY; it’s an entire continent. And we don’t live on trees with monkeys. I myself haven’t seen a monkey before. Just thought I should put it out there. Much love.
Ever been to Africa? How was your experience like? Kindly share and thanks for reading.
© Josephine Amoako 2019