Trials & Tribulations
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Repatriation is riddled with trials and tribulations. Where did it begin? It began the moment certain things were put in place to facilitate the move, from inside Babylon. It was there that I noticed the intensity of darts (obstacles) that began assailing I from every angle. Major incidents, all capable of postponing or crippling my plans to make the exodus. It was almost as though the pope (devil) was going to miss me and was fighting to keep me. This was the beginning of a new level of spiritual warfare that one engages once he or she embarks to be free from his or her oppressors and their wicked machinations.
During my first visit, at the tender age of 25, I disembarked from Ghana Airways to be met by the wonderful musk that combines the ocean breeze with human funk, known to all who travel the tropics. At that time we had to walk out onto the tarmac directly from the plane and make our way to a shuttle that took us into a basic airport. The faces all looked familiar, nothing different about the brethren and sistren that I could see, except maybe, that there was a greater consistency with their skin tone, dark brown for the most part. Customs were typical, unless you seemed particularly insistent on not paying even a small duty. Some of us come with the intention to turn corruption on its heals. Well this is not the place and I knew that, so I didn't endure any hassle. $20-$50 slipped in the passport is usually good enough for the inspecting customs agent, depending on what you have. It was at the exiting door that I received the first barrage of solicitations. Some, directly for a dash (tip) and others insisting on taking my bags to the nearest taxi, pulling and fighting amongst themselves. It was really all too much, but it didn't last long. I got in a taxi and drove off. Not knowing the city and not having a very reliable guide I was chauffeured through the town to three deplorable motels before I simply gave in and took one on the beach. My first few hours were spent in utter confusion as I looked out the window and marveled at the sight of open gutters, dirty, dirty children and grown men and women, urinating indiscriminately in plain view. Sure I saw the mini sky-scrapers, the wonderful road leading from the airport into town and the display of Benzes and Beemers coasting alongside the taxi, but these sights were the least of my expectations. I know of Africa's wealth and 'knew' that with her independence she was able to correct the many ills imposed by colonialism. It was at this time that I got a complete crash-course on Neo-colonialism, the after-effects of imperial rule. In short, it is institutionalized poverty, where luxuries (light, water, good roads, etc.) are guaranteed to those that insure the low, low prices on our exportable commodities to our 'former' rulers and in turn, burden the people with unbearable prices on necessary imports such as oil, which was recently increased by 100% with less than a few days notice and no pay increases to balance the effect. It has the most devastating effect on the already impoverished, and since the real perpetrators live comfortably in other countries and no one expects any more from the residing president, neglect is the order of the day until an issue offers political advantage or monetary gain. And so it goes in modern day Africa. But at that time I didn't overstand all this, rather I asked if we, Black people, really lived like this? Were we damned to live in these conditions, no matter where we resided? DAMN!
After the initial shocks I tried my best to appear less like a green fruit in a ripe basket and assimilate with those who I have been separated from all this time, my brethren and my sistren. From the reception I would have thought I was the first or second returning black man; like I had been awaited for so, so long and now everyone was simply jubilating. The truth of the matter is that people like I visit and move here in droves and all account for one of Ghana's leading industries, tourism. Even those who move are often considered long-term tourist, with a slightly bigger kitty. Having been here for some time now, I can assure anyone that our brothers and sisters await us eagerly and with sincerity they are ready to assist us in the struggle, but you will probably not meet them at the airport or anywhere around the hotels. It may very well take you years to know the people well enough to discern good from bad. Until that time you can apply your best judgment, knowing what you know about human nature and trying not to cast blanket judgment which will cause you to miss the gems. Also bear in mind, Accra is an international port, with its residents very accustomed to centuries of the vilest pirates, some wearing eye patches and others in suit and ties. That kind of company is bound to have its effects on the people, but once you venture out into the hinterlands, villages even just outside Accra, you will find a more genuine people and a less intense environment. Until you are able to find your grove with those around you, your frustrations will be countless because man is not an island.
For I, repatriation first required the redefining of false pre-conceptions, namely that Ghana, or any state in Africa truly enjoys independence from the wicked machinations I was fleeing. I had to face the fact that Mystery Babylon has left her children behind to continue her dirty work of economic, spiritual, mental and physical slavery. I also came to terms with the harsh reality that we have all learned a long time ago, black skin doesn't make a brother or sister. Though Africa awaits her Creators, there are a vast number of destroyers that resent our return and only wish to capitalize on it. You will find the truth in that evident from the one who tries to extort you at the airport to the very government who has made no facilitation what so ever, for Africans from the Diaspora to return home. We are either tourist, investors or students, with a temporary allowance in the country. Although they passed a bill extending the Right of Abode, I know of no beneficiaries amongst our peers, Repatriates. These realities hit everyone differently. Some can't handle it and some deal and move on. I dealt, and I have moved on.