I have been speaking Fante (an Akan language) as far back as I remember. I don’t really know how I picked it up, but it was my mode of communication with the only grandfather I knew, who died when I was 9. Since then, I have mainly spoken it with my mother’s family members (mother and siblings). I hardly used the language in Accra and only speak it in Elmina because that’s where I usually get the opportunity. It’s not that I do not speak Akan at all because Twi (another Akan language) is the most commonly spoken one in the country.
There’s something refreshing about going home and seeing it through fresh eyes. It’s interesting going back after a year when dynamics have shifted and it’s a new adventure even when undertaking old experiences.
I have always had a sort of learned helplessness when it comes to finding my way around Accra. Growing up with a driver, and a mother who made sure you did not need to leave the house for any reason meant that I was so used to be taken around and only had few chances to make use of public transportation. My primary and high school (both were in one institution) was only a block so I could walk to (when I had no choice but to)and from. Plus, I went to boarding school where I was safely dropped off and picked up at the beginning and end of the term. So you see, very little opportunity to use trotros (public buses, cheapest form of transportation) or taxis.
Before 2017 I had never heard of the Global March or the Women’s March, but with the political tension in the United States and the uncertain future women seem to be facing in these times, it’s no surprise that my feed was filled with photos publicizing the event by the various influencers I follow on social media. It was a week of decision-making and trying to balance the pros and cons of attending the march. I read so many articles by different people of varying backgrounds on what their thought of the march is.
My relationship with the city of Philadelphia is one that happened naturally. I had hoped to go to school in Boston and be closer to family, but fate had something else in store for me and it has been an amazing few years. It has been amazing getting to tour the city and seeing the history and love that is embedded in the framework of the entire place.
I used to be one of those people who subscribed to the phrase “New Year, New Me” but this year I decided to let go of that phrase. I have outgrown in and in thinking like an adult, I realize that a new year does not completely clean your slate. In trying to do so, we throw out our lessons and experiences which only take us backward.
2016 has been a busy year, with me being in 3 countries by the first half of the year. The year started with me in Ghana for a visit after three years in college. I got back to Philadelphia in time to start the Winter Term and was fortunate to take classes that I absolutely loved being part of like African-American Literature.
After 3 years in Philly, it would seem that I would know a lot of places around the city, but when you have a great love for your leopard print blanket (which I bought as a result of my childhood obsession with the Cheetah Girls, I thought I was Chanel) it’s tough to get out of the house. However, when you have a fun-loving friend who would not let you miss out on life, it is always fun to explore and find new places, like my favorite find of 2016, The Graffiti Pier.
It is easy to get lost in all the weird and unexpected events of 2016 and even easier to lose track of the few amazing things that have happened this year with all the rhetoric and aura of politics permeating the atmosphere. Luckily, we were given the opportunity to clear the air of all this during Thanksgiving. Many probably still had tension from opposing political views, but I’m hoping that this holiday gave you a chance to move beyond all that and celebrate the support and that you have from your family and friends.
Nigeria has always held a special place in my heart since I was about 8 years old and my father moved there to work for some years. I was lucky enough to visit the country with my parents for my tenth birthday weekend. Although I was limited to Lagos and did not get to visit Benue State where my father was living I loved that vacation and it has been one of my favorite childhood memories.