Tuesday, March 31, 2009


After being in Africa I learned some things.

I learned where some of the traditions that we have today came from. The funny thing is that many of the traditions or rituals that we have I don't think we really know where we got them from. When we visited the chief we had to bring him a bottle of schnapps. This was used for the pouring of libations. Whenever there is a ceremony there is a pouring of libations. In this tradition what happens is the chief holds a glass of schnapps up to thank god and then pours some on the ground for the ancestors before he takes a sip himself. This is very similiar to what people do when the pour some liquor on the ground for the homies that are gone. When I learned this it made me think that someone heard about this ritual but somehow misinterpreted it a little. But yet and still it's done and it came from Africa. They talked about Ghanian time...which is the same thing as CP time (colored people time). You've heard the saying that it takes a villiage to raise a child. You probably even lived that growing up and being reprimanded by a neighbor or someone not of your family but that knows your family. We it doesn't have to be said in Africa it's just done. Children roamed around the villiage alone with no fear of being harmed because there is always someone watching and taking care of them. This is where we got that from too.

Even with these traditions or rituals that we were able to hold on to and not knowing why necessarily. We still somehow were able to hold on to things that slave masters couldn't take from us. Now that's just a couple of things that I found similiar but there are more.

You may have read or heard a Black person reciting in a poem or stated in a book or some other source that we are Kings and Queens. I have even said it before in my blog. What I realized while in Africa is that we are not all Kings and Queens and that was evident to me by the hierarchy of things that I saw. So I will no longer refer to myself as a King or anyone else that is Black as King or Queen because the truth of the matter is that I just really don't know. The one thing that I do know and as sad as it is this is one thing that all Black people in America, Spain, or anywhere else in the world can be proud of is that those slaves that were taken from Africa and survived the horrific circumstances that they did were the strongest of Africans. While visiting one of the slave castles the African guide made this quite clear. Not only did they survive the unsanitary and inhumane transportation but even surviving the time spent in the slave castle was indication of their strength. 100s of African men, women and children positioned in rooms with little space to move. There were no bathrooms for the slaves to relieve themselves or places for women to clean themselves when menstruating. So the stench of all this they endured in rooms approximately 500 square feet holding upwards of 200 people, in tightly packed rooms in the castle and also on the ships.

We are who we are and can be proud of our ancestors and know that even if we couldn't survive what they did then today...it's possible that wherever that strength came from is the continued strength that our slave ancestors and beyond had that now affords us some of the liberties that we have today. If you didn't know before you should know now that we come from strong people. Be proud of that because the strength that they had is still in us.

Somkey Robinson recited a poem on Def Comedy Jam sometime ago. Take a listen.

Monday, March 23, 2009

So Much To Tell

I have so much to tell and have had so many experiences since I've been here in Ghana. The one thing I can honestly say is...when I thought that intially the people were not friendly...I was dead wrong...those were people from London on the plane with us.

The people in Ghana everywhere that we have gone are so nice and helpful. Some are being nice to get you to buy there stuff. But even when you say no they don't get an attitude and still smile and wave at you. The average wage here for most people is less than $100 a month. Can you imagine living on that. Well if you lived here you probalby could..but certainly not in conditions that I'm sure you would relish. There are some very rich people here and it's a shame that they don't do more for the people that are poor. I guess we face that same thing in the states though.

The conditions at the orphanage we visited were deplorable to say the least. The children ate off of the filthy floors wearing filthy clothes and wanting attention like you wouldn't believe. The orphange we visited is government run and have probably 6 staff members for over 100 babies and children. The matresses on the beds are horrible the bathrooms, a disgusting site that would cause you to gag. Some of the people here have gotten money together to purchase mattresses and pay people in the community where we built the houses to clean the orphanage. I think the beds are a good idea but the cleaning will only last a short while. More needs to be done as the government only supplies the staff with their small pay and does not pay for medical expenses for the children. Many badly need it. Even this child with Cerebral Palsy was felt joy just to be touched. His smile is so wide and he crawls around the floor to get close to you. He has no idea of the care he could have in the states so he smiles because someone notices him and touches him. I spent a lot of time with him just to make him as if someone cared. I don't know if that was a good or bad thing because he probably won't receive attention like that again in a long time.

Other than that the experience has been overwhelmingly wonderful!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Had a Headache today

Today started off as a good day and we made it to the worksite at 7am. Before we could even get started working a commotion occurred. One of the women from a different country who is also one of the leads of this project (I'm the other lead for the USA Team) decided she would go to the airport to meet our Vice President who was coming in town today. Well that's just not right. I should have said something sooner but I didn't. It's just simple protocol if and executive that you works with comes to another country if there is someone from his country there they should meet him at the airport. Well this upset the woman. I think she was attempting to make some power move, felt like this is her project and she's controlling things, or felt like she friends with the VP. But in fact she is not friends with him nor is she in charge of anyone. I had to let her know that in the nicest way I knew how. Especially when she hung up on me when I was explaining this to her. If I were a woman I would have socked her in the face as soon as I saw her. I thought about how I would act on our way to the airport.

She wasn't making it easy. She refused to speak to me so I waited until after we picked up my VP and got back to the hotel for him to change. While he was chaning I addressed her and let her know in no uncertain terms that she needed to remember the big picture of this situation. We are on a humanitarian project and it should not be about who is in charge but at the same time since my company is involved in this project there are certain protocol's that need to be followed. Whether she liked it or not. I also, told her to let it all go and we could regroup after the event is over to ensure that the progress we are making continues and so that the trip remains pleasant. (I really have matured!!)

Tonight we are going to a cultural event at a different hotel. So, I'm looking forward to that and will take some pictures. Other than that things are going smoothly and my appreciation for what I have and an understanding of what I can do with and without has truly come into focus for me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

2nd Day of Building

We have been building for 2 days now. The frist day was hard for some, including myself. The heat took a little getting used to and I had not eaten enough breakfast to sustatain myself. I took longer breaks than everyone else. The 2nd day of building I was much better prepared.

Here's a small view of what's happening here. Kumai is many things. It is beautiful and sad all at the same time. There is so much help that is needed here. The orphanage visit was an eye opener. The standards of the building would have cause it to be shut down in seconds in the states. Filthy cribs for babies and I believe that some of the children actually sleep on the floor. I didn't see any blankets around or anything like that. Just bare floors. I didn't see toys for them to play with either. We brought some toys for the children to have on our fist visit. They seemed so unfamiliar with toys that it was obvious that they didn't know what to do with them. They were all starving for attention. For us in the states this would seem like child cruelity. In this region the most important thing is to have a place where the children can be safe and get something to eat. Anything else is extra. Also, when things are donated to the orphanage we are not positive that they children see them. It's possible that material things are being sold. We have no proof of that however. We will be going back again to deliver some of the backpacks and other items that hadn't arrived once we got here. We will probalby also be purchasing tiles so that the children have a more sanitary floor to play and sleep on. Right now it's just cement and a few wooden benches.

I would have had pictures of some of the children from the orphanage but the battery on my camera died that day. I'll have some of them when I return.

However, I do have these pictures of the houses we are building and some of the children that live in the villiage. I must say that my mind has changed about the friendliness of Ghananians. As we drive through the city children and some adults wave at us constantly. At the build site the curious children are always close by. Here are some pictures of them and some of the builders who are called Artisans. They are masons and carpenters.

Here's a pic of one of the guys that was digging a 20ft hole in the ground. He's probably about 5'7" tall but all the workers and most of the men that I've seen here are extremely fit. We as americans should be extremely ashamed of ourselves for the way we look. INCLUDING MYSELF! I mean it is rare to see man or woman that is overweight here. You will see more women that are heavier but I believe that's due to baby weight.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


We are in Kumasi now. It was a 6 hour drive over some rough roads. The internet service is pretty poor here. It's difficult to upload pictures and stay connected. Click the Flickr link to see some pics.

There's a lot more to write but we are on our way to the orphanage and have a meeting just before to prepare us.

Hope all are well.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I made it!

Hello All,

I'm in Ghana! You know the saying it's hotter than a witches coochie. Let me tell you that her coochie is just luke warm. It's hot here. We got here about 10pm and it was 84 degrees and humid.

Right away you can see the poverty. People scrambling to help you with your bags almost taking them from you to get you in their taxis. I keep hearing about how friendly people are here but I haven't quite experienced that yet. I think the people are very elegant however. There is an air of sophistication about them all. They are regal in their manner no matter their life circumstances. You can however tell the rich from the poor here.

Rich is what was on the plane with us. It was quite a culture shock on the plane in London to Accra you could count the number of white people. I think I counted 6.

We'll be going into town later today to experience more of the city before we move on to another region. You know I love art and in the hotel there was an art gallery. They actually let me take picutes of it. The pictures in this blog are a part of the gallery and just a few of my favorites.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I'm so excited I don't know what to do with myself. I've been packing for a couple of days now. Putting things in the bag taking things out. Reshuffling clothes etc.

Now today is the day that we take off. Tomorrow I will be in AFRICA!

I got online earlier today and a friend of mine that lives in NY hit me up. He's African and said that he is going to be in Accra towards the end of the month. How great is that! By the time he gets there is when we will have our free time to pretty much do whatever we want so this is perfect. I'll be able to hang out with him and see the side of Ghana that I was so nervous about before. Now I'll have no need to be nervous because I'll be with someone that I trust and knows his way around.

He keeps saying how fine the guys are there. Hopefully I'll have some pictures to show you to prove that fact!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Completely Over You

When I first met him several thoughts danced in my head.

The words attractive, intelligent, sensitive, caring, honorable and sexy came to mind. These thoughts stayed in my head for quite some time. Even though some of the words that spilled from his lips showed thie idiotic logic, insecure tendencies, and misleading intent. I hung on to the initial words that filled my head. Whether it was what I wanted to hear and see really doesn't mean a thing any longer because now I'm so over him.

Finally my eyes opened and I could hear and see clearly that he was not the prince that I once thought.

In fact he became the forgotten soul that slithers near it's prey. Searching for anything that will make it feel as if its a prince. Devouring maliciously gifts bestowed upon him in appreciation for the falsehood that lies within.

I actually hadn't thought about him for several months then someone asked me about him today and I needed a minute to realize who they were talking about. Who? I said...The distastefulness in my mouth required me to spit. I only replied no we don't talk anymore and left it at that.

It struck me strange that I hadn't thought about him because at one time I thought my relationship with him would be something special. How wrong was I.

I got past the days of wanting to cuss him very quickly. As my motto goes..."Enjoy the moment". That moment was over long before it started when I think retrospectively about it. As he said he wasn't the man for me. That was the one truth he told.

For awhile I felt sorry for him and on some level I probably still do. Not because he's not with me. More so, because he is lost. He will encounter many because that is what he does...but none will stay long and even those that he has known long will not be loyal to him. For after awhile they realize too that he is not a prince but instead a forgotten soul filled with lies, misery, confusion, and delusions. He doesn't know it because they say it behind his back. His clandestine activities are ineffective in their camaflauge. More people know of his works than he even knows.

When the time comes that you can clearly see someone for who they are is when you know who you really are. I'm completely over him and my life is much better. The picture of him is clear in my mind. Especially since I am seeing him from the inside.

The lesson here is to put yourself first and listen with more than your heart.