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The Way is Reciprocity

Bred in the so-called civilized world, we tend to put much emphasis on etiquette.  We stumble over ourselves to say “thank you” and “howdy-do”, never wishing to mistakenly offend, even at our own expense.  But for those of us who have lived beyond the borders of those pseudo worlds, we have learned that the nice guys always eat last.

Sympathy almost does not translate into the local dialect, expect none of it.  Our tendency to be considerate will be a weakness exploited until we grow tired of bending over backward.  No one will ask if your back hurts and no one will offer to share your load, rather, more and more will come with their problems for you to fix.

In my observation, those returning with family here, be it Ghanaians or Africans born in the Diaspora who are married to Ghanaians, usually have it the hardest, as they feel compelled to satisfy the demands of the family.   I, who will soon marry a Princess from Ghana, know better than anyone how  important it is to foster relationships and to expand our family by including members from those that we meet and come to love, but it is also very important that you don’t let mere relations to indebt you to a person or people.  Learn that it isn’t always necessary to oblige, not always necessary to acquiesce to someone else’s tradition, simply because it is called a tradition, nor should you feel obligated to assume any burden greater than you can bear.  You will know your true family by how they reciprocate your efforts.  For everything you can do for your ‘family’, they too can do for you, in numerous ways.  Recognize that Africans are abundantly rich.  Seek partners and extended family members wisely, do not pair yourself with dependents.  And please don’t assume that you can trust someone because they are ‘family’.  Since when has that validated anyone?

 

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