Few things make your feel of identity shake as much as when I child begin to cry from the mere sight of you. This happened to me here in Tema, Ghana he other day. I had been out all day expanding my horizons and testing my own limits (can I eat this? do I dare to go in here? Can I find my way home from here?) As I step in to the house that is now my zone of comfort and where my mother-in-law resides as well as the place were I take in breakfast (coffe, bread and fruits) and often dinner, an old friend is there to greet me. Her daughter who as only a baby last time I was in Ghana is running around with her cousin. UNTIL…SHE SEES ME…HER EYES WIDEN..HER MOUTH OPENS…BIG TEARS FALL DOWN HER CHEEKS. At first she is very quiet but then
We all laugh. But the child cannot be comforted. I try and talk to her. Her mother reassures I’m not dangerous. She can sit in her grandmothers lap. Still shaking from upset she now and then dares to take a peek at me.
Who is this fair creature with strange hair and a funny sounding language? What do my mother really know of her intentions?
Historically, the girl is indeed right to cry. What has the white person’s missions in Black Africa been?
By the end of the visit, the small girl has stopped crying, but still makes sure she is at all times at a security distance from myself. Her mother ties the child to her back and we follow them out – in Ghana every visitor is followed out, crying or not – but after a few steps mother and child return.
The mother explains:
– She said she wants to hug Obroni (white person). I am quite surprised by the flip side to the situation. However, as i hug the little girl on her mother’s back she starts crying again.