Home is a place where I feel so comfortable and relaxed. Ghana is my home and the best home ever to me. As a young girl born and raised in a small Town in the Ahafo Ano-North District, life hasn’t been easy as compared to kids born and raised in Europe and America.
Tepa, a small town in the Ashanti Region, is where I was born and raised ‘til I was two years of age. I later moved to stay with my aunt in a town called Bohyen, a suburb of Kumasi. I felt so welcome and also felt at home since I had a lot of family members surrounding me. I have a close relationship with my maternal side more than my paternal side. I had lived with a lot of family members almost all my life time who had great impacts in my life.
In Kumasi, I started schooling where I met a lot of friends who really meant a lot to me, as young as I was. It was always fun having friends at school who you can play and have fun with. I have been to several schools in my life. I actually thought changing of schools always wasn’t something right, since I felt I was always left behind, since my friends were always promoted in which I had to repeat a class because of my age. I sometimes cried about that which actually attracted my aunt’s attention. She always says, “Never get worried because I will always be there for you.”
My aunt was a baker when I moved to stay with her, but that didn’t take her attention from me. She did everything possible to make me feel comfortable and good at home. She treated and accepted me as her own child even though my parents were alive and they also loved me. My mother used to visit me most of the time whilst I was living with my aunt. She never forgot she had a baby girl somewhere and she loved me so much more than I could ever imagine. Growing up and staying with a busy woman like my aunt was something hard, since she sometimes had to leave as early as 2am in the morning to get to her workplace. I would sometimes cry when I wake up and find out that she is gone. That wasn’t a problem, since her husband was always there for me, loved and supported my decisions as a kid. There used to be sometimes when my cousins would beat or punish me for doing something bad, but my auntie’s husband would always stand by me and warned my cousins never to touch or do anything to me.
Living in Ghana, one has to learn about something that really explains our Ghanaian identity. One biggest day that is celebrated by many Ghanaians in Ghana or abroad is the Independence Day. Independence Day is the day Ghana gained its independence through the toil of some great men who fought for the land. One of these great men is Osagyefo Doctor Kwame Nkrumah who was bold enough to fight for our rights and declared on the 6th of March 1957 that “Ghana our beloved Country is free forever,” which has become a common saying among Ghanaians on this particular day. On this day people from all walks of life in the country visit the Independence Square, where the occasion mostly takes place, and experience a brief history of our country, poems, traditional dance, speeches from the President and his Cabinet, and all. Kwame Nkrumah was the first President of the Republic of Ghana and a person known worldwide because of the impact he had on Sub-Sahara Countries. Childhood memories will never be fun without all these stories. Ghana really suffered a lot when the white people from Europe came to Ghana to colonise us. They made some people slaves and sold them to people in Europe, America and other countries that were developed by them. Slavery is never a thing any Ghanaian or African would like to hear about, since it creates some strong emotions of how our forefathers were treated and the kind of lives they lived.
After living in Kumasi, I moved to Accra in 2009, where I lived with my mum and my auntie in a town called Chorkor Mamprobi. There I met my little sister who was then 3 years old. I only saw my sister when she used to visit me with my mum. Later that same year, we moved to a house that we rented and there I lived with my mother after so many years of staying with my maternal auntie. My auntie used to visit me when I left Kumasi. Anytime she visited, she would always advise me to be a good girl and don’t misbehave. I later started schooling in Accra. The school I first went to wasn’t that easy, since I had difficulties in some parts, especially understanding anything that was taught or explained in Ga. Ga is the official language of the people of the Greater Accra Region. It wasn’t easy at all trying to find my way through, even though Ghanaian language was forbidden in the school, but that was one language most students used to speak because they felt like they can express themselves better. I tried my best to cooperate with them and also tried to learn and speak the language so I could interact with them. They sometimes laughed at me when I say something wrong, which sometimes made me feel like not speaking it again. As time went on, I became okay with them and started speaking and writing it as well. Most people encouraged me to learn harder, since I was one of the best students in the class. Education in Ghana is mostly about money and if your parents are rich enough, you can get the best and good education ever.
After a whole year in that school, my Dad told me he doesn’t want me to learn the Ga language, so they should look for another school where I can continue learning Twi. So I started searching for a school with my mum, which we found one, but I was supposed to repeat my 6th grade again, which I refused to do, therefore landing me to be in another school where I will still continue learning Ga, since I was in a Ga community. The new school was actually near me, I shared the same fence with my school, so I actually had no problem with that. I felt so welcomed since we weren’t many in the class and had some strong bond. My teachers liked me and my favourite teacher was my Social Studies teacher and my favourite subject was also Social Studies. I enjoyed my stay in that school and had a lot of fun with my classmates before our final exams, the B.E.C.E.
B.E.C.E is the Basic Education Certificate Examination that was written by the final year students at the end of their Junior High School year. We always had to wake up early and go to school and prepare for our final lap. We prepared so hard and, at the end, success was our portion. After Junior High School, we had to stay at home for about 4 months before our results were released. The results came out and I passed with good grades. Later the same year, our school placement was out. Wow! You can just imagine how everyone was waiting for his or her dream Senior High School. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t get the high school I wanted to attend, but had a different one. At first, I cried about that, knowing well that I never dreamt of going to Mfantsiman Girls, since it was a school that was tagged with a bad name.
The time came for us to go to school, the most anticipated moment of that time. Hahahahahaha!! I packed all my things that a fresher like me will need in Senior High School. On the 3rd of October 2013, we travelled all the way to Central Region with one of my schoolmates who also had the same school. You thought I was alone, right? Sorry, I had a close friend who was like a sister with me. Within 3 hours, we finally arrived in the school. We went straight to the administration block to pay for some bills, and we were later directed to our Assembly Hall. When we entered, I saw people packed in the Assembly Hall. They were all freshers who had come fresh to the school just like me. I searched for my house stand and went there to check my things, after which we had to wait for some time before the House prefect directed us to our house. It wasn’t easy for the first time because we were actually bullied. Some cried and regretted being there, but later most people got used to that and never complained.
A new life wasn’t easy for me, since you had to live on your own and live without your parents around. A lot of challenges came my way, but with God on my side and daily prayers, I was able to sail through the four walls of Mfantsiman Girls. I spent 2 years in Mfantsiman and later moved to Hamburg. I never thought I would one day join my Dad in Hamburg. I had no idea when he was working on my documents to pick me up.
I was one day in school and I had a call by our house mistress, who informed me my Dad is waiting for me at her office, so I should report myself there. I didn’t believe it though, because the last time I spoke with my Dad he didn’t tell me anything about that. I went and, to my surprise, he was there and he told me he was there to take me home. I went in and packed my things and left with him to Accra. We didn’t go straight to our house, rather we passed by and went to the Passport Office. It was there that I asked the reason and he lied to me saying, “I just want you to get yourself a passport in case of anything.” I could actually tell the lie from his face. Later, when we were done, we went to the German Embassy. That was when I asked again and he told me he was working on my documents to pick me up. I was so happy to hear that because finally I was about to move and stay with my Daddy after a long time of not staying with him. We went and did everything that we were asked to do and after, headed home. The next day was my birthday, so we went out to have a little fun and after, I left for school. In the same month, my Dad paid me a visit and informed me about his return to Germany. I wasn’t happy about that, but I had nothing to do about it. He left and returned back to Germany.
I continued my process and sometimes had to quit classes and go to the Embassy to work on my documents, go for interviews and other things. With the grace of God, everything went on well and I was granted the permission to come to Germany on the 29th of July, 2015. On that very day, I had exams to write but had to miss those exams and go to the Embassy for my visa. It was some few days to vacation, so you could feel how happy I was because I knew I would be travelling abroad during the vacation and never to return to Mfantsiman Girls. After I was given my visa I returned back to school and informed my house mistress, who was also happy for me. I wanted to write the exams I missed, but my teacher refused by telling me it is of no importance to me since I will be leaving the school. I went to my house and packed since we had 2 days to vacate. I asked for money from my parents to clear myself before I leave which they sent to me, but I kept it for myself without paying it.
Since I had only informed a few friends about that, I didn’t want many people to know since, if they see me leaving with all my belongings, they are going to suspect something very fishy. I had to hide my things ‘til most people were out before I also left. I said goodbye to all my friends who knew about it. Some cried which also made me shed tears, because I was going to miss them and might not see many of them again. The feeling was mutual and real since my friends were going to miss me and the fun we used to have together during class time, dining hall time, assembly hall and during church service. I remember one friend telling me, “Hmmmm, Belinda is leaving us, so who is going to supply the class with school accessories?” It was fun having many friends in my school who became like a family to me and now I am going to leave them, without seeing them for so long. It wasn’t a good day since everyone was sad that I was departing. I gave them some hugs and took pics with some of them and also spent some time with them before I left. A day before that, some friends and housemates collected money and surprised me with a small party in my small dorm. We had fun, danced, shared some memories we had since we met, drunk and spent the whole night together. I pictured every single moment and didn’t want to let it go because it was a great moment for myself and my friends. I wish I had completed Senior High School in Ghana to have more fun with my mates, but that wasn’t it.
Few days after we vacated, I had to do my hair and get prepared since my trip was 3 days after. I did everything and met some friends and after came back home to get ready to go to the airport. I went to the airport with my family members and my best friend. I said goodbye to them and left to board the plane to Germany. I got to Hamburg Airport and my Dad and Uncle were already waiting for me. We hugged each other and went home. It was fun meeting my Dad again and this time to stay with him forever – the best memory ever.