Metaphysical Freedom

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Adventures in Africa Part 4: The People Are Rich, but Do Not Know It

I mentioned in Part 1 that earlier this year, I traveled to Ghana, West Africa and stayed for a month. In my time there, I learned a lot of positives about myself and the Ghanaian culture. I also recognized some of my own stigmas, and challenged others’. However, there are some things that I learned which opened my eyes to the reality of the challenges we face due to our ego-centric human nature and history. Through my next set of posts, I will address some “ugly truths” that I developed a better understanding of while being in Ghana.

As I shared in the first post, there were several people from other countries visiting Ghana. Due to my naivety, I thought that the majority of these people were tourists or volunteers. When I spent more time in the country, I paid attention to the landscape, noticed the architecture, and witnessed the different “classes” of people.

There were notably many people from China, India, and France in Ghana. (Through conversation, I learned that there are many people from these countries who reside or visit Africa in general.) I have seen videos of other African countries with “foreigners”, but the experience is different when something is observed firsthand.

I saw extravagant hotels, numerous casinos, and fancy apartment buildings in Ghana. When I asked the locals who owned them, I was surprised to know that most were owned by “foreigners”. These luxurious establishments were in the middle of cities with shack houses, cramped market spaces, and unstable roads. In the least, they were hard to miss because they appeared to have higher quality construction.

Why, you may ask are all these businesses there? Well, think about this: Which nation/continent is one of the largest leaders in cocoa production, has lots of oil, precious metals, diamonds and gold? You got that right. Africa.

I was bothered to not only to witness the economic disparity among the native Ghanaians, but also to observe the ways that the people were being taken advantage of by “foreign” businesses (example: Paying workers far less to run million-dollar businesses). I talked with many educated local businessmen who expressed that other countries are investing heavily in the continent of Africa and its countries. I learned that treaties were formed centuries ago that have left the people with little to no input or income when it relates to the extraction, use, and distribution of their resources.

It is funny to me that a great amount of the American publicity about the continent has been geared towards driving people away from Africa, or displays the people as poor and impoverished. Yet, I clearly saw that other countries see Africa as a rich continent filled with resources and wealthy opportunities.

I am not against people thriving and doing well in their business and economic endeavors, but I do not vibe with groups who take advantage of and oppress another group for their own gain.
It is once again, another form of slavery. The Ghanaian people are very kind, open, and non-violent. Their hospitality is nothing like any Southern hospitality I have experience in the United States. But, something is missing. They are rich and do not know it.

The long-term effects of colonization have left several of the people with a case of learned helplessness. I will talk more about the long-term effects of colonization in another post.

However, a crafty way that I can explain learned helplessness is like this:
A person desires to get help with turning off a light in a room. The person is facing a wall, and the light switch is on the opposite wall that the person is not looking at. Due to the person’s history and past experiences, the person was made to believe that he/she cannot help him/herself. So, this person asks every other person who comes into the room for help with turning off the light. In reality, all that the person has to do is turn around and flip the switch.

When I roamed around Ghana, a lot of the people expressed that they want to come to the US in order to find jobs and make money. Almost none of them said that they wanted to have their own businesses and thrive in their own country. I couldn’t understand it. I felt like they were in a land overflowing with wealth, yet they were seeing it only from a limited viewpoint, and a very negatively skewed one at that.

It appears that their view of their situation is a result of a centuries old “(human) race consciousness” that supports limited awareness of personal strength and freedom.
I desire for the Ghanaian people to know how rich they truly are. Food grows almost everywhere, the air is lively and basically unpolluted (most places I went), and the land has a wealth of resources.

 

Mighty Hill

These ants did not question if they could build this structure. They knew they had the ability, worked together, and did so, unencumbered.

To my Ghanaian brothers and sisters (and you the reader):

Do not look outside of yourself in order to discover riches.
See who You Are.
You Are already Rich and well-equipped.
Tap into your innate strength and wealth.

With loving conviction,
Dana (Intuitive Dana)
http://www.metaphysicalfreedom.com


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Adventures in Africa Part 3: Making Connections

Connecting with the Ghanaian People

I toured a small portion of the country and gathered as much information as I could about the people, culture, language, and customs. Most of the Ghanaian people are Christian, and there is also a large Muslim population as well. The day after Easter Sunday, I visited the beautiful Aburi Botanical Gardens for an Easter Monday festival. There was a live band, picnics, dancing, singing, games, and lots of food everywhere. I noticed the FREEDOM of the people, unlike anything else I have ever experienced. Everywhere that I looked, everyone was walking around confidently, laughing, smiling, and LIVING in the moment. I loved every moment of it!

Here is a video clip from Aburi Botanical Gardens on that day: https://youtu.be/Irxx91oxWMo

Without me saying a word, people noticed that I was “different”and often asked if I was African at all. A few people said to me that my skin was too light, so they were willing to believe I was from South Africa. I found that hard to believe, because I have a brown complexion. (Then, I jokingly thought about the 13% of my lineage that is European.) After this happened frequently, I learned very quickly not to be bothered by these statements because I knew that it was only curiosity.

I met two young men in their 20’s at Aburi. Their names were Francis and Joe. They were excited to meet an American and asked me hundreds of questions. The first thing they said was, “Are you a Black American?” I nodded. Francis and Joe expressed that they wanted to come to America so that they can have jobs and live a good life. I did not want to discourage them, but I was realistic and told them that many people in America are having difficulty finding work. They looked puzzled so I explained more about the American economy until they understood.

I asked Francis and Joe for their Ghanaian names. With hesitance, they told me. Then, they asked me what my African name was. I told them that I did not know. They looked so surprised at me and asked why I didn’t know. I had to explain to them how slavery impacted my family (and many others) to the point where I could not tell them my whole lineage or my ancestors’ names. They continued to look surprised and a little empathetic.

We continued our conversations and talked about several issues facing each country. I wanted them to know how much freedom they truly have and how amazing life can be, right where they were. I ended up talking to them for a few hours, but it was worth it.  After our conversation, they each told me their native names again, and with pride.

New friends Francois and Joe

New friends Francis and Joe at Aburi

There are talented young people in Ghana. I met Jacob during some downtime. Jacob is a creative and fashion-forward young adult. He makes handbags, shoes, accessories, clothing, and much more…ALL BY HAND. As I learned more about him, I discovered that he had given a large portion of his products to someone in another country who paid him little to nothing for it and now sells it in her store for 120x’s more. I encouraged Jacob to share his work globally using social media, instead of just in Ghana. I pointed out to him that he spends a lot of time and effort to do his work, so he should get back what it is worth. He agreed, and has started working with a Facebook page to share his work. (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ja-Creation/832268476851066)

Jacob, a talented and fashion-forward guy. He makes shoes, clothing, handbags, and accessories. By the way, he made the bookbag in this picture.

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Hanging out with Jacob and taking selfies at a local Lounge in Tema

I also had the pleasure of meeting Kingsford. He is another young adult, and he works in one of the small shops in the Accra Arts Center area. He was cool, kind, and made very nice bracelets…BY HAND. I supported his business by getting personalized bracelets made. I would sit in the chair and chat with him while he made them.

Kingsford making a bracelet.

Kingsford making a personalized bracelet.

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Giving Kingsford a goodbye hug and thanking him.

My next to last week in Ghana, I stayed at the home of a missionary woman. She worked with several organizations and had numerous projects. One day, she asked if I could sit in on a meeting and give feedback based on my perspective. I agreed. The meeting was at the Malku Institute of Technology. The topic of interest was marketing and social media. I gave my honest opinion and shared research that I had read.  Surprisingly to me, I was asked to come back and present a workshop to the core staff about the topic. I was thrilled to do so, and I put together a simple presentation to assist them in the best way that I knew how.

Presentation at Malku

Presentation at Malku3Presentation at Malku1

Presentation at Malku5

As I continued with the intention to connect with the Ghanaian people, I discovered that the ones I connected with were ones who needed to be encouraged and reminded that they are worthy of greatness. (Don’t we all need that?!)

Here is another person that I met. Thomas, pictured below. He was my cab driver during my last week in Ghana. Thomas is 70 years old, and has 2 adult children living in New York. He and I had great conversations about spirituality, religion, and stages of the lifespan. Thomas shared that he feels like his time on Earth is about to be up. He said, “My kids are grown and a lot of my friends are dead.” I expressed to him that there is so much life to live right now. He smiled when we talked and shared, “I wish we could have met sooner so we can really talk about Life!” Before I left, he commanded me, “You come back in a year, and I want to meet your husband and baby.” This statement made me laugh.

All in all, I loved to hear Thomas’s perspective, yet most importantly, he also appreciated my willingness to listen.

Thomas, my reliable cab driver

By the last week of my trip, most people said to me, “Are you Ghanaian? You look Ghanaian.” I was so amused by this because the only thing that changed for me was that I felt less like a tourist or visitor and more like I was at home.

 When my host family asked me how I felt about being in Africa and specifically in Ghana, I replied: “I see the faces of my friends and family in the people here.”

It easily felt like home, indeed.

Think about this:

The more we seek to understand each other, the less and less we support the false barriers that exist between us.

Joe gifted me with a bracelet and asked to be a lifelong friend.

With Love,
Dana (Intuitive Dana)
http://www.metaphysicalfreedom.com


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Adventures in Africa Part 2: Exploring My African Roots

Exploring My African Roots

One of the many reasons that I traveled to Ghana and spent a month there is because I wanted to learn more about my African roots. One of my siblings did the DNA genealogy test to help us to determine what regions/countries that our ancestors came from. To me, the test results were…well…they weren’t very conclusive. They read something like: Overall  85% from Africa (of course), then it was broken down into countries- Cameroon/Congo 31%, Ivory Coast/Ghana 26%, Nigeria 10%, and traces of Senegal 7%, Mali 4%, Togo/Benin 4%, and the South-Eastern Bantu region 2%. The other percentages were roughly 13% European and 2% Central Asian. When I first heard the results, I asked, “What does that really mean?” I don’t believe that the same borders or boundaries existed when my early ancestors were living freely on the land hundreds of years ago, so I figured that Ghana would be a good place in West Africa to learn at least something about the people I come from.

I grew up in South Georgia with small beginnings on family farmland in the countryside. The farms were former plantations. I remember having family get-togethers outside where we fried fish in a large pot of oil over an open flame. We had live animals running around…horses, pigs, chickens, and the family dogs. My uncles loved cooking Brunswick stew, or bringing back fresh fish from the local river. My dad would cut sugar cane, and we all enjoyed chewing it to get the sweet “juice”. I remember when I was very young, I used to sit on my great grandmother’s porch overlooking the farmland and help her to “shuck” corn.

Some of the houses were more like shacks because they were built by family members and had tin roofs. We called some of them “shotgun” houses because you could walk into the front door and see straight through the house all the way to the back door.

Even when we moved to the city, we continued some of our lifestyle. We grew plums, pecans, figs, blackberries, and peppers in our own yard.

Life was simple and rich.

Sogakope, Ghana in the Volta Region felt the most like my hometown to me. There were mostly dirt roads, several handmade houses, and the people were laid-back.

A few homes in Sogakope

A few homes in Sogakope

Mango tree in the yard

Mango tree in the yard

Sugar Cane

Food stand: Pineapple, yam, plantain, palm nuts, and chopped sugar cane (at the bottom)

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Laid-back moto riders relaxing by a “shack”

Something else that was interesting to me was related to funerals. My family usually wears black to funerals. However, if it is a grandparent that dies, we (as grandchildren) wear white instead. I don’t remember questioning why we had this tradition.

During my time in Ghana, I learned that red, black, and white are the funeral colors for Ghanaians. The people wear red if it is a young person who has passed away. They wear black if it is an adult/middle-aged person. They wear white if it is an elderly person. I felt a sense of satisfaction with this information and pondered if our family tradition was a watered-down version of an ancestral practice.

One final thing that caught my attention and felt comforting was the clothes-washing. Almost everyone hand-washes their clothing and hangs them out on a line to dry. My parents grew up doing the same thing, and they did the same for us. At some point, we had a washing machine, but we NEVER had a dryer, so we used a clothesline. As a teen, I used to be ashamed of it, but now I smile joyfully about it. (Plus, it is very environmentally friendly.)

Clothes hanging on the clothesline

Clothes hanging on the clothesline at a university guest house.

These small similarities made me feel more at ease in the “foreign” country. I started to pay more conscious attention to the people, and began to see familiarity in all of them.

 It is such a pleasure to notice the small things that connect us all as a people.

 

With that being said, Here is Part 3: Making Connections.

In Joy!
Dana (Intuitive Dana)
http://www.metaphysicalfreedom.com