Many people grow up and also live with their biological parents right from birth, but I didn’t. My grandmother, who acted as my father and mother, was the most important person in my life. I didn’t know she wasn’t my real mother because she never showed any signs. She pampered me and was always on my side 24/7.
I quite remember one day I went to Sunday school and, as usual, was running around and having fun with my mates. Unfortunately, I got into a fight with a friend of mine because I mistakenly stepped on his toes. I quickly apologised to the extent that I could, but this boy was not pleased with whatever I was telling him. He decided to fight me, and I slapped him very hard with the last energy in me and the end result was very bad. My fingers drew on his cheeks and it looked as if my fingers were tattooed on his face. He began to cry in a way that one would think he has lost his mum. I was like, “What mess have I caused?”
I became frightened when our Sunday school teacher was approaching us, and my heart was jumping up and down. I, together with the teacher and the boy, went to our house, which was not far from the church. My teacher wanted my grandmother to see how naughty I had become and punish me. After my teacher had explained everything to my grandmother, she went like, “He really deserves to be slapped.” What?! I was so enthusiastic because I thought she would whoop me mercilessly. I said to myself, “My mum is the best ever.” I already knew my biological mother when I was around 7 years old when she came to Ghana, but I didn’t really have that motherly love for her. My grandmother was my everything. Me living with her gave me comfort, joy, and happiness, and personally, I feel me living with her is my home.
She died, unfortunately, after three months of me being in Senior High School. I could not get the chance to say goodbye because I was always on campus. I usually did not listen to her advice and I would sometimes do whatever I wanted. She was always like, “One day, you will miss me but by that time I will be gone.” These days, I always become sad whenever I remember this statement of hers.
After her death, my biological mother came to pick me to Germany, where my three siblings were born. I had to adapt to their style of living and change my definition of home. The first two years in Germany were difficult for me because of the language barrier. But I was determined to establish a good life in Germany, become successful and help my family back in Ghana.
But I feel sometimes not like a Ghanaian because my memories and ideas about Ghana are fading out slowly. Also, because Ghana is fast developing, some Ghanaian identities are also improving, and me being in Germany is not giving me the chance to match up and practise these. But by the way, I do not mean me being in Germany has made me feel like a German, but because I am integrating slowly into the German culture and my Ghanaian identity is fading away slowly, that’s where the problem lies.
I feel that one day, if I am not really careful, I will be lost between two identities: the Ghanaian identity and the German identity. The German identity because I will never be proud - no matter how I integrate myself - to boldly say I am German (in black skin).
But living in Europe has really, really opened my mind and helped me view things differently. For example, when I was in Ghana, I just insulted lesbians and gays because I thought that it [homosexuality] was completely absurd. But during my life in Germany (or Europe), I learnt one’s genes can naturally be destined in a way which will make him act different from what people expect. Honestly, I do not have bad impressions of gays and lesbians anymore. Like, I just accept everyone as who they are.
Living in Germany has introduced me to so many things about life and made me a different person, I must confess.