Growing up was quite an interesting one. I clearly recall telling my mom everytime that when I become a ‘bigman’ in future, I will travel abroad.
To a young Ghanaian child, abroad was America (Abrokyire). I also remember my primary school days when Mama Jane; the Proprietress of my school once invited a team of Christian American Missionaries to my school to teach us for a few weeks.
Words could not describe how I felt, the few weeks the Americans spent in my school won me the recognition by Mama Jane; as the neatest and well-dressed pupil of the month. Within those few weeks, i kept my socks neat and made sure my school uniforms never got dirty.
Roll-on was not my thing, I preferred dusting powder and lime juice to keep my armpits smelling fresh and clean. I remember stealing my elder brother’s body spray that smelled like mixture of onions and frankincense.
Mama Jane told the whole school that one of us (the hardworking and neat pupils) would be taken abroad a week after the Missionaries leave.
‘Abrokyire’ (Abroad) was on my mind. That week I made sure I passed all my assignments and was always the first to raise a hand when a question was asked in class.
So sad, I waited for two months and yet no there was no sign of the Missionaries coming back to take us abroad. That was the moment I realized Mama Jane had lied to us about the ‘Abrokyire’ movement.
I guess she might have forgotten by now. This was about thirteen years ago. I believe many other Ghanaian have similar stories to share.
In a country filled with diverse culture and numerous freedoms backed by the strict laws of the land, living is based on Abraham Maslow’s theory of needs.- here we call it ‘Accra Stay-by-plan’.
Many Ghanaian youths still hold onto the perception that, travelling abroad is the answer to their woes.
Living abroad isn’t easy at all, especially when all you have is your ‘potomanto’ (traveling bag) and Passport with no place to lay ones head.
Kofi Swiss, a young high school leaver who lived in my area shared his experience with me.
“Communication wasn’t always going to be easy, and I felt homesick from time to time.The only thing that kept me going was the thought that there were a lot of people whose dream was to be where I was..”
“It is not a smooth-sailing journey. It’s far from it, really. But the truth about going off someplace else in hopes of having a so-called “brighter future” is that you had to hustle to get some comfort in life abroad.. Those times I spent abroad were sometimes fun, talk of free drinks from clubs, a little help from fellow friends.. frankly, I missed my mom’s fufu and Palm Nut. Time has really passed and anytime I recall the these thoughts, I reflect back on my past and thank God for how far he has brought me. “, Kofi said.
It is a nice thing to talk about, but ‘Abrokyire’ isnt always rainbows and butterflies.