My future children

October 23, 2013

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I currently live with my cousin and for some reason the idea of settling in Ghana has come up quite regularly. My cousin is against the idea of settling back in Ghana. Her main reasons are the poor healthcare system and the lack of opportunity for her children. If it was two to three years ago, I would have debated over this issue with her. Once upon a time I was all over the idea of settling in Ghana at some point in my life. It just seemed like the most natural and the logical thing to do. I thought it was only fair that I would live at the birthplace of my roots. I used to say when I am 40 I would go and start a business or something. Initially it was a magazine, then I thought a textile company, printing company, then I thought of a cocktail bar and/or an events garden for weddings and parties etc. My Mum was all over the idea of settling in Ghana as well. She was a few steps ahead of me, setting herself up with investments for her retirement in a few years. She had it all planned out. She would move to Ghana, my Dad would follow, she would be there for a few years, then come back to Australia once I start having children to help look after them. My Dad was never clear about settling in Ghana. I never really knew what his thoughts were. When he retired, we tried to ship him off but he didn’t budge. My cousin in Australia made it clear a few years ago that he wasn’t going to move to Ghana when he retires. I just couldn’t understand his reasoning and I felt like he was turning away from the Motherland. It would become a debate every now and then. He would say that I am not looking at the bigger picture and I would say his neglecting his roots.

Now in retrospect, I didn’t understand the magnitude of the ‘settling in Ghana’ plan and I highly doubt my Mum did either until a few months ago when my Dad got very sick and nearly died. He was in a critical condition for a few weeks and remained in hospital for over three months. It was during this time that my Mum changed her retirement plans. She said there was no way she would move to Ghana to settle. She emphasised that if my Dad was there, he would have died in a heartbeat because the health system and other factors would have failed him. I can’t go into detail over the extent of my Dad’s illness, but in short if you met my Dad today he would tell you straight away ‘If I was in Ghana I would have been gone the day this started’. Not only that, he wouldn’t get the care he is currently getting in Australia. We are talking weekly doctor appointments, monthly specialist appointments and weekly home visits by community nurses.

Now that my Mum says she isn’t going to move to Ghana, my Dad is of course isn’t going anywhere, my cousin is not going either, and now I have no urge to go and settle either. At 40, I hope to be living in Australia and not Ghana. I must say that what happened to my Dad put a lot of stuff into perspective for me, and could be part of the reason why I have lost the urge to move Ghana now, however, I can’t seem articulate those reasons of why I don’t want to move there and I feel quite guilty about this. Before, I had an essay of why I should go and settle in Ghana. Now, I can’t even be bothered to go there on holidays, which is weird because any excuse to go to Ghana I am always in. I thought I would be all over Ghana when I moved to the UK, since it’s a stone throw away. I surprisingly turned down an invitation to go with two of my friends for Christmas, yet I was more than happy to gatecrash their trip to Morocco straight after Ghana.

I have written about this before (I don’t remember when) about passing on Ghanaian traditions to my children and I thought I would be alright with teaching them things since I was glued to traditions. Now I feel like the dynamic has changed. My children will probably only get a taste of Ghana every 5 years or so, since we won’t be going on yearly trips to visit the Grandparents. I wonder if they will have the fascination I had with Ghana when I was 16 and 19? Would they even feel emotionally connected like I am? I wonder if they will actually listen to me when I tell them don’t give your Grandmother anything with your left hand, always use your right hand? Or will they be like my cousin’s children in the UK who make bold statements that they are not ‘Ghana people’ and they are British? I wonder if my children will proudly say that they are Ghanaian-Australian? I wonder if my friends will be passing on old-school traditions onto their children? I wonder if we will gather at church, funerals and christenings and be bothered to do things the way our parents did it? I wonder if my fascination with Ghana was just a novelty phase and I will soon be like my 10 year old self who didn’t want to have an association with Ghana?

I know my love for Ghana is still there, it’s just faded out somewhere and I hope it comes back because I want my children to see Ghana, feel and experience it like I did, adopt some traditions the way I did when I was growing up. I am just concerned that if my enthusiasm of Ghana completely rubs off, how will I bring it back for my children?

I just wonder….#randomthoughts

IMAGE SOURCE: LET’S TRAVEL SOMEWHERE

3 comments

  • Regie

    It’s a psychological battle. More likely one’s perspective will keep shifting at each point in time.

  • Mazuba

    I’m sorry about your dad’s illness. Personally, I never envisioned myself moving back to Zambia when I was in the States. But then my parents and my sisters moved and I didnt have any other family, so I didn’t have much choice. Moving back is a personal thing, and not everyone in the diaspora has to move back. With that said, there is good healthcare if you;re willing to pay for it in Zambia at least. Most rich people prefer to go to South Africa for treatment, but they die anyway (the ministers at least).

    I think the best way to move back is in stages. Personally, I’m not sure if my kids will grow up in Zambia, as I dont mind moving to Harare or Capetown soon. Maybe i’d even move back to New York if I could.

    • Gillean

      I guess time will tell where we will end up. As you wrote, you didn’t envision moving back to Zambia but you didn’t have a choice. I can’t envision moving to Ghana either, but if I am faced with no option I guess I would and adapt. At this point where I have a choice and Ghana doesn’t seem like an option and I am learning how to come to terms with that.

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