‘Come Back Home,’ says Pittsburgh resident Jay Donaldson after visit to Ghana

My first visit to Ghana this past summer of 2018 was filled with expected adventure, pleasures, learning. I did not know how I would be accepted. My thoughts were that I may be taken advantage of as a foreigner. I held my guard up for what may be the unexpected. My passion/love for my Black people gave me strength; I now know that there’s a plenty we didn’t know about our past.

Coming to Ghana was like being reborn again—everything you thought you knew about Black folks, forget it. “These Blacks over here ain’t nothing like my homies.”

The Ghanaians are the humble and peaceful people. The time I spent there, over a month and a half, I saw no violence or shooting or fighting. I traveled on the road and I took taxis, I walked, I ran…I watched a lot a news and there’s just not a lot of crime and NO GUNS! I was able to do business with a few of the locals. I was treated well and was very happy with what I bought.

When I arrived in the country it was the hottest time of the year. The temperature was 100 degrees every day. I was out in it most days. In the market district was the most intense heat. What do you get when you get 10,000 Blacks crowed in a small area? BLACK HEAT!! I loved it! The walks got me closer to the neighborhood, where I saw a local soccer match.

On Sundays everyone’s on their way to a Sunday Sermon—you’ll hear shouts and singing from a distance, music playing, tambourines and drums, with hands clapping. It will bring joy to your heart, it’s pure soul filled with heavenly harmonies.

Getting around is a major problem if you’re without a car. I always asked the fare before I went anywhere. I got familiar with one or two drivers in the area. Of course, they will jack the price when they hear your English. I took long walks and drank a lot a water. My choice of movement long-distance was the “choo-choo”—If you ever wanted to be close to somebody you have to take a choo-choo. It’s essentially a modified van which transports many passengers beyond its capacity.

So I rode in the choo-choo for many, many miles to the outskirts and rural areas. I saw plush vegetation and green valleys and hills, mountaintops filled with huge trees. I saw many different tribes at stops. A group of Fulanis were in town—they are nomads and live in the desert plains and raise cattle. They are Muslim people and make up a small percentage of the population in Ghana. I always ask what tribe they come from, but only if I am having an in-depth conversation with the person.

I know I am from one of those tribes and that is what Black people now want to know. The harsh injustices in America have convinced many that the U.S. is not the only place you can make a living and right now, America doesn’t seem particularly safe for Black men.

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