LAST DAY IN GHANA. Today is my last day in Ghana. I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how I feel about it and I have come to the conclusion that I am feeling everything. I am so incredibly sad to be leaving this place and saying goodbye to the amazing people that I have met here. On the other hand, I can’t even put into words how excited I am to be heading home. Throw in some travel anxiety and a significant amount of nerves to be back in the first world and you’ve got a whole melting pot of emotions.
As I’m wrapping up my packing and trying to fit in as many lasts as I can, I can’t help but start to think about what my homecoming is going to be like. Of course there will be the happy reunions with most likely a few tears on my moms end, more than a few stops for food with most likely a few tears on my end, and then of course the ever anticipated debrief of my experience. Admittedly, I am dreading the classic and inevitable question of “How was Ghana?” Could that question be any more vague? How am I supposed to sum up an entire semesters worth of experiences into a response to a question as simple as that? My biggest fear is that I’ll end up with some small response like “good” or “amazing” or even something as provocatively mysterious as “interesting” and people will think that I got nothing out of the semester or even worse that I didn’t enjoy it. The truth is that I loved living in Ghana, but to say that it wasn’t hard would be a lie. So, I’ve been trying to prepare myself with a better answer to that question. Unfortunately, not much is coming to mind.
How can I describe how this semester has been both amazingly difficult and wonderfully fantastic at the same time? Or that there were times when I could not imagine ever leaving and times when I would have run home if I could have. What is the proper way to talk about the hard times without overshadowing the good? (that concludes the pensive question section of the blog)
Seriously though, I think my biggest struggle apart from re-learning any American norm that Ghana conditioned out of me, is going to be to accurately describe my time here. Anyone who has been reading my blog will have a head start but even then there are missing pieces. I want people to know the beauty of Ghana in the colors of the clothes and trees and even the red dirt. I wish I could have shown everyone the extent of the hustle and bustle of daily life and how you can get anything from a full course meal to living room furniture from vendors weaving in and out of cars at stoplights. I would love to show one of the many conversations that occurred between some of the Ghanaian men and a classic oburoni woman that often ended in an inquiry for a phone number, email, or facebook name and a marriage proposal. Or record an interaction at a market or with taxi drivers involving the back and forth bargaining for a price. These things along with innumerable others are things that I may never be able to do justice in my attempts to explain.
I’ve been thinking that maybe this means I shouldn’t focus as much on these things. I can leave that task to pictures and any videos that I have taken. As for me, I can talk about what I learned. I could go on for days about how I changed as a person and how Ghana influenced that. I will also, probably unintentionally, share many of the phrases that are common to Ghanaians, including “charley”, “you’re invited”, and “it is finished.” Representing an exclamation, regarding meals or explaining a lack of something, respectively. I can explain goals that I set for myself and how in some way or another I accomplished each one. And now, here on the last day, I can say that in the midst of all the emotions I am ready for the next chapter of my life. It breaks my heart that this experience is ending but I have new places to see, new people to meet, and new goals to accomplish.
So as the Ghanaians say, although typically not used in this context, it is finished. It’s time to go home. Ghana, yebehyia bio.