I wrote a piece a few months ago about the trip Chris and I are planning to make to Ghana. The closer the time of the trip gets, the more anxious I’m becoming. Recently, I saw a You-Tube video of three young Africans (born in America) reviewing their visit to Ghana. The interviewer was interviewing them in Accra, the Capital City. They were standing in Independence Square which contains monuments to Ghana’s independence struggle, including the Independence Arch, Black Star Gate, and the Liberation Day Monument. Independence Square is the second largest City Square in the world after the Tiananmen Square.
While visiting one of the slave dungeons, one of the young people interviewed said they felt a sense of connection with their ancestors who were stolen from Africa. They felt their visit to Ghana was an answer to the inscription on the dungeon door which reads “Door of No Return.” After four hundred or so years, this young person’s family had come full circle. She was the representative chosen (by God, the universe, her ancestors) to make the return home. A return no African could remotely fathom four hundred years ago. I’ve heard this story on more than one occasion. Each time I hear it, I feel an emotional awakening. To this point those emotions are vicarious. God willing, I will feel the real thing in short order.
As I watched the video of these young folks, from New Orleans by the way, I felt a twinge of envy. They are young and making this trip to our land of origin with a good chance of many years left to visit other countries in Africa. One of the three had already been to several other countries on the continent. Why am I envious? I’m sixty-nine years old, living with a life-threatening disease, with probably little chance left of trekking back a fourth (with any significant repetitive degree) to my motherland. I’ve come late in life to an awareness of just how valuable my experience with Africa can be. I’m praying that the old saying of “better late than never” will be true with Mother Africa and me.
I do find myself thinking of what I will still miss even with my trip to Ghana. I’ll miss being able to make the precise connection to the two people, who were stashed in the cargo hold of a ship, brought to a foreign land and consummated the beginning of the generational journey that resulted in me sitting at this keyboard, composing these musings. The technology of ancestral investigation has come a long way in recent times; however, the most I can expect is discovery of regional or tribal identity somewhere in West Africa. Most of us can’t do what Alex Haley did with Roots. It would be nice though to find cousins remotely removed.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too
I am excited for you and Chris! It would be wonderful if your adventure was shared with interested ones in the church’s Confertorium or the Fellowship Hall.
Thanks. I plan on taking lots of pictures and scribbling lots of notes.
Thanks for reading my stuff. I plan on taking lots of pictures and writing lots notes. I want to chronicle this event, and I am considering it an event. My oldest daughter and a cousin of mine (and his wife) are going, too. We had already planned to pull a presentation together for our annual family gathering that takes place in July. I can’t see why we can’t share that with the folks at church?
You have a sense of something I do not. My ancestral roots are in Europe; Prussian, Irish, Slovak; but there isn’t any sense of connection to those locations. While my extended family tree now has several thousand leaves and have somewhat close relatives in Ireland, I am not aware of any feelings of association related to those locations nor even a desire to visit them. I can only hope you & Chris are rewarded and find satisfaction in your personal mission.
lewbornmann, we all have different reactions to certain things. Maybe it has to do with the historical realities of those in our ancestry, who came before us? Thanks for reading my musings. It’s good to know your stuff isn’t just floating around in cyberspace.
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Thanks for reading my musings. I used WordPress to design my website and publish my blogs. It’s easy and relatively inexpensive.