Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Through My Tears - I SALUTE YOU!

After being away for over 5 years, I boarded a flight back to Africa; Accra Ghana; on personal journey of great purpose. I committed to embrace my journey in Ghana for 60 days to mend my broken relationship with my family and church. The transition back to Africa was a lot greater than I had anticipated. My body took quite a while to adjust; firstly, to the time change; then the hot climate; for some reason adjusting to the heat was far more challenging than I remembered when I first moved to Ghana in 2001. Gradually, after about 14 days my body began to get acclimated to the changes and I began to venture out to run basic errands, attend church, meet with family, friends and church member, and get acquainted with my new neighbors.

As I walked on the dirt roads of Ghana, and as I rode through the city via trotro; I intently observed the people of Ghana; especially the women and children. Needless to say, I observed heartbreaking poverty and an unbelievable unsanitary environment. As I witnessed such atrocities, there is sadness that over takes me, and I am overcome with unanswered questions. How can a country in the new millennium; in 2010, be so far behind in the development of basic infrastructure? Why are there so many people around the world, like the people of Ghana, deprived of living a life in a clean environment, clean drinking water, electricity, etc? How can it be that so many people suffer such extreme poverty in one of the wealthiest continents in the world - Africa? The questions were overwhelming; because it is very difficult to find any answers that make any sense.

I find my heart filling up with sadness, and tears welling up inside; as I watched the women and children working so hard; rising before sunrise; making preparation to sell goods and food at the market; or on the streets; to make barely enough money to feed their families just for the day. Mothers’ carrying their babies on there backs as they carry the heavy load of today’s goods to sell on their heads. Children that do not attend school; either because of the lack of school fees; or out of necessity to support their families; putting their lives on the line as they stand in the middle of the busy streets of Accra; in extreme heat; with soiled clothes on their back; and at times, bare foot; peddling pure water; plantain chips; sweets or gum, and a variety of goods.

In the middle of my emotion of sadness; there is this overpowering feeling of ultimate respect and admiration. Respecting how hard women and children work just to eat; without murmuring or complaining. They rise before sunlight to work until sunset just to make very little. I admire the hard work of the Ghanaian people; they work day and night, with a sense of pride, in awful conditions; yet they are able to wear a smile, and find a song and dance in their hearts. It makes me feel ashamed of how spoiled and lazy, as an American, I have become. I witnessed many people with their own businesses out of necessity to survive; whether it is a hair salon; a dress shop; selling food prepared earlier in the day; selling pure water; fruits and vegetables at the market and more. The Ghanaians are doing for themselves by any means necessary.

Although there is sadness in my heart for my Ghanaian Sisters and Children; there is tremendous respect. I salute them for their strength; both physically and emotionally. I respect their will power to survive with very little modern conveniences. They Make It; they Survive; they Thrive! I Celebrate their Stamina, Courage and Dignity.

Through my tears, I Salute You – Mothers of Africa!


  1. We Americans dont even acknowledge how blessed we are. We are to busy worrying about what our baskets looks like rather than being thankful that we are healthy enough to carry it on our heads. We are too busy chasing the American dream to realize that the chase is killing us in more ways than one. I too have respect for these women. Thank you for sharing.

  2. @ Catherine. Well Said! We as Americans really do take so much for granted; and we have forgotten how to be grateful. In the pursuit of the American Dream; we have failed to recognize our many blessings.