When my friend Kelvin, a British Ghanaian decided to eventually move to Ghana, I thought he was following the “Ghana is home” cliche and the fetishizing that comes with it. It was easy for me to think like this because his dad already had a house in Ghana where he stays whenever he comes down for holidays and his mom had also settled in her hometown somewhere in the Eastern region to simply rest after living most of her life in the UK. I wasn’t paying attention to him till he told me that he felt he had a purpose that was drawing him to Ghana. That was what sparked my curiosity.
I wondered why someone would want to leave the clearly defined systems that makes life easy to come start afresh in a country with systems that don’t work smoothly. I wondered why he wanted to come to what everyone is running away from.
For him, it was more about finding answers and being a catalyst to the change we crave but run away from. His first attempt to move to Ghana completely was some years back when he got a job as a teacher in an international school where other expatriates worked, after a few years, he left to a different country.
I asked him why he quit and he said teaching at that place wasn’t any different from teaching in the UK and he didn’t see the impact he was making towards his country, Ghana. He also wanted a broader knowledge about science, philosophy and beliefs. Now I got more interested in whatever purpose he was thinking about so we started having conversations about Kwame Nkrumah and other great African leaders. He wanted to make the dream of these African leaders come true because he believes that we Africans have the power to change how Africa is viewed in the outside world. Interactions with him made me realize how shallow my own thoughts were and I was ashamed. Instead of complaining and running away, why not work towards the change we want?
Thankfully, my narrative has changed, I believe that we, the African diaspora and locals are Africa and we need to work together to make Africa a better place for our generation and generations to come. Kelvin wants to eventually settle in Ghana (he’s bought a house already!) and teach kids in the deprived areas about science, critical thinking and African history because that’s where the change starts from.
What I as a local can do to help:
Provide insight on how the education systems work
Share my perspective of what needs to be changed
Help him get access to some deprived areas within Ghana
Link him to the proper authorities to translate some things to the locals.
Because of their portrayed confidence, I use to think that the diaspora had all the answers, but I don’t think like that anymore. I’m seeing that, there are many who are coming to learn. Like my friend Kelvin, who feels like his purpose is to make his country great again. He only sees a solution amidst all the chaos in the country and it is up to we the locals to help educate and support his eager ambitions.”
We the locals need to work with the diaspora to achieve the common goal because we understand and can define the situation better. We play a better role in strategizing sometimes even unconsciously because we know how systems work in our country better than the diaspora.
- Anabella Boateng