A Journey of Gratitude and Renewal
When Rita and I first met almost 4 years ago, she asked me to research options for us to visit Ghana. Initially, I didn’t have a pull to go to Ghana, but as I delved into my research, it became a journey I couldn’t resist. Despite facing obstacles such as time constraints and other distractions, we remained determined to make this dream a reality. Our shared passion for setting foot on the motherland, witnessing the Door of No Return, and connecting with local women entrepreneurs never wavered. And now, looking back on our trip, it has exceeded all our expectations – it truly was a dream come true. The impact it had on me is indescribable; it touched my soul in ways I never could have anticipated.
Upon entering the vibrant soils of Ghana, I felt as if I had entered a world where history breathed alongside the present, creating a quilt (made from kenti cloth) of warmth, resilience, and awakening. Our journey was more than just a travel expedition; it stirred the depths of my soul and opened my eyes to the extraordinary.
Embraced by Ghana: A quilt of Warmth and Protection
From the moment we arrived, the embrace of Ghana enveloped us, tenderly introducing us to a land teeming with life and a people overflowing with kindness. Our guide, Dumba, became the lighthouse of our expedition, illuminating the historical nuances and present realities of this beautiful country. His knowledge was more than facts; it was a bridge connecting us to Ghana’s past and present heartbeats. Dumba, along with our driver, extended themselves beyond expectation, crafting an experience that felt like a protective cocoon, allowing us to explore the best of Ghana without fear.
The Unyielding Work Ethic: Lessons from Resilient Souls
The work ethic of the Ghanaian people was a masterclass in dedication, resilience and faith. Everywhere we turned, individuals were engrossed in their crafts, be it selling plantain chips on bustling streets or the entrepreneurial endeavors of the 25 remarkable women we met. Their unwavering commitment to their families and their crafts left an indelible impression on me. They were not just hard workers; they were artisans of life, embodying talent, skill, and a profound respect for family. What I found to be significantly profound was that many of these business/hustles were family ran. Everyone had a specific job based on their skillset and were appreciated for their participation.
Confronting Heartbreak: Shadows of History
Yet, with the vibrancy, we confronted the haunting shadows of history (history I never learned in school). We were fortunate to visit the slave river and the castles that once confined living souls was an emotionally staggering experience. I wavered between crying, to praying, to getting angry, to questioning the moral compass of “these people” that call themselves Christians to do this to other people. The pain we felt echoed through time, a stark reminder of unimaginable suffering and resilience. The juxtaposition of beauty and tragedy, the ocean’s serenity against the haunting dungeons, left me grappling with the depths of human endurance and the courage it took to survive such deplorable conditions. I have learned that I have deep within me what it takes to be a true survivor thanks to those who came before me.
The Roots: A Profound Connection
Setting off on this voyage alongside my younger sister, my unwavering pillar of support, heightened the significance of this journey as a shared family experience. A couple of years ago, I presented my parents with an ancestry test that revealed their Ghanaian heritage, with both parents showing 20-28% Ghanaian lineage. Gratitude overwhelms me for the resilience Rita and I exhibited in maneuvering through the occasional hurdles while organizing this expedition. Our joint determination not only helped us navigate logistical challenges but also solidified an enduring connection as we embarked on this remarkable adventure together.
A Heart full of Gratitude and Renewed Purpose
Returning home, I carry with me an immense gratitude for God and my ancestor’s orchestration that led me to Ghana, my new home. This transformational journey was a testament to self-discovery, connection, and a profound understanding of our shared humanity. We paid homage to our ancestors, met extraordinary souls, and confronted head on the anguish of history. Ghana, with its beauty and resilience, has etched itself into the depths of my heart forever. This expedition was not just a trip; it was a catalyst for change, a call to advocate for justice, and a commitment to honoring those who came before us. Ghana has gifted me a renewed perspective, a deeper appreciation for life’s tapestry, and an unwavering commitment to preserving the legacy of resilience and strength. This journey was a blessing—a gift that continues to shape my path with its profound lessons and unwavering spirit.