Trans-Atlantic Return! Akwaaba!

So I did it!  I packed up, said farewells and made that trip back to the motherland!  This time Ghana.  Now I know some of you may be thinking well didn’t you do that before? Like, what did you call your experience in South Africa?  Honestly, as a black American woman, South Africa was nice but West Africa has a different feel.  I feel more connected to this space, I see the commonalities in this space far more than South Africa.  So here it goes…Week1/2 reflection!

Akwaaba!  I have heard this more than a few times since I arrived but never before explained to such depth as my neighbor Mr. Baidoo explained.  He says it has much deeper meaning besides welcome.  He says it’s more of you have returned, now you are home, now you can root, you are welcomed because we are one.  So I love that version and I’m sticking to it!  And his sentiment is fairly common here.  It had come to my attention that Ghanaians are very comfortable with foreigners.  They immediately switch up to English for you once they realize you don’t understand, they are very helpful, and honestly, don’t pay you much mind in regards to your differences.  However, they will hike the price up.  I found myself a little frustrated with this but then again, who can knock the hustle. A sister friend of mine gave me a quick lesson in Twi before I headed out one day and that has increased my negotiating skills!  Well, at least it has helped me get a correct price in a taxi and not the foreigner price.  By the time they realize I don’t speak Twi fully they have already quoted a price!  Yay, one tally for the American girl!

As some of you know, unlike my Peace Corps experience I came to Ghana to an empty home.  Most places here come completely bare.  No appliances, no light fixtures, fans, etc. So I had to hit the ground running!  I have spent my time thus far just purchasing the things I need for my bedroom and kitchen.  I’m holding off on the hall(living room) until a later date.  Now, this all should seem easy and quick if you have the cash but oh no my dear it is not.  THE RAIN halted a lot of my progress the first few days. It’s currently rainy season, which basically means downpours when and where ever.  I must admit it does have a cleansing feeling to it. It definitely helps you sleep like a baby.  Well, unless it’s raining as hard as it did my second night and I thought someone was trying to break in only to find the rain! Anyway… People don’t move with purpose in the rain here.  It’s almost like the old folks in the south when it rains and they make you sit down.  Well, it’s similar to that.  People will wait until the rain slows down before they move and because of that many of my deliveries were delayed.   In addition to that people don’t just deliver to you because you ordered, they wait until they get a few orders in the same area and then they come. So it’s best you live in a populated area so you can quickly get delivery. And when I say deliver I mean for furniture, water, etc.( yes I have to have my water for my home delivered.  Don’t worry I will do a whole vlog post on water supply later).

I currently don’t have a car here in Accra and honestly speaking don’t really want one for now because I would be terrified to drive here.  The rules of the road are…non-existent.  But there is plenty of means to get around here. Tro Tro vans, taxi, Uber, private car, friends, neighbors!  You will get where you need to go, and I have gotten around easily but for a price!  Now the cool thing is that the taxi’s will do anything and go anywhere for the right price.  I had my bed frame delivered by taxi. They broke it down, strapped it up and put it back together at my home.  Amazing!  I have found it funny that whenever I buy something that needs assembling, wherever I buy the people are ready and willing to travel to me and do just that.  No more that 30 cedis. Now I will say I did have to wait for lights out(this is when the power shuts off for no reason at all,again another seperate post) to end before they installed my fan, but the response time was immediate.

A few ladies from Peace Corps South Africa were here as well so that definitely made me feel a little at ease.  We were able to hang out and club over the weekend and I got to see a different side of Ghana.  Previously on my other trips, I came and hung out with Ghanaians strickly.  Not much interaction with other repats or expats.  This time I have met both and I see the benefit of both circles.

All and all it’s been good! Still transitioning, finally started work this week and really excited about all that is unfolding.  Until next time yall!

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So…What is it that you do?

So…What is it that you do?  Post-college in D.C had to be some of the most rewarding yet intense years of my life.   The dreadful small talk at social/networking events was enough to make me have an eat, pray, love year!

What do you do? Registered in my mind as:  What’s your title? Why are you important? Who are you? Do you really matter?

Often times in our western society we place value on how people classify themselves based on employment.   “Oh, I have a law degree. I’m a doctor. I teach in the inner city. I’m a staffer for a notable congressman. I’m studying to get my Ph.D.”  Which all translates to ” Hello, I matter!  I have spent hella money on a piece of paper to be important to somebody!”

Now, by no means am I discrediting my educated peers, I myself have a degree and have fully exploited the privileges I paid for!  But what happens when that degree doesn’t land you the job of your dreams? When your executive title has been snatched away from you at your corporate job. When you can’t answer with confidence and pride the question, So what do you do?

Who are you beyond that job?  This is where it gets tricky.  For many of us, we live for the moment after graduation and the 3-4 year struggle post undergrad and graduate school to say exactly what it is we “DO”.

You know the one, it’s “That job”. The one that felt right during the interview.  The one that matched your skill set perfectly. The one you felt you could grow with.  The one your parents were proud of. The one that offered that salary increase you dreamed of. When you lose it, what is next? What do we do when we loose the job that offered such security before?

WE LET IT GO!

Here is a Quick tip for letting go of “that job”: Practice gratitude

In the midst of a reclined job offer or dismissal from a company, nothing soothes the pain better than a dose of gratitude. Reflect on what you learned while working with this company.  Determine your new set of demands for the next place of employment.  Determine if working for someone else is what you truly desire. Identify the skills you brought to the table and ones that you picked up along the way.  Be thankful for the opportunity to have that experience and a job that carried you thus far.  Re-focus your energy in a positive direction through gratitude as you set out on your next employment adventure!

For more information on “The Art of Letting Go” check out my new e-course: abeo-education.teachable.com

 

 

Letting go: Matters of the heart

abeo-education.teachable.com    E-Course: The Art of Letting Go

We grow the most in relationships.  Well let me clarify, I personally have learned the most from my relationships.  In these spaces, I am forced to be vulnerable.  In these spaces, I am forced to see the fullness of who I am.  It is in these spaces that we as people see the manifestations of our deeply rooted beliefs about life, who we are, and how we show up in the world.  Plain and simple relationships are our truth juice.   So when a union ends, no matter the time frame, it hurts.  It causes you to question who you are, what you are, what you bring to the table, what you will and will not accept in your space, why you accepted what you did, and a series of other questions that often times lead you down a path of overthinking and pain. It is in these moments, the quiet space of our mind, where truth becomes the master.  Even the most confident person, in these moments of truth, ask why and how.

No person dreams of the end when they connect with someone but it is one of those inevitable truths.  If you are anything like me you quietly process and resolve or stuff your feelings and emotions in places to never be seen or heard of again…well until they are seen and heard again.  Generally in the next relationship or moment of disappointment.

I’ve learned what you don’t address will manifest. For me, it has been critical to consciously release those thoughts, feelings, and emotions one step at a time.

 

So here is a  MATTERS OF THE HEART QUICK TIP:  Tell yourself the TRUTH

Determine for yourself what is it that the relationship gave you or provided you with.  In what ways did that relationship cripple you from providing that for yourself? Ask yourself do I miss the person or the idea of that person and the benefits of the relationship? Ask yourself, what was the reality of the relationship?

This is your starting place to release, heal, and thrive!

 

For more info on how to release matters of the heart visit and enroll in the e-course “The Art of Letting Go”.

Site: abeo-education.teachable.com

#getfree #release #letgotogrow

 

What is an Everyday Queen

I love my journal!dope  It holds all my vulnerabilities in its pages.  I can speak truth in my journal, laugh in my journal, cry in my journal and just be in my journal.  However there are some things worth sharing and after I spent some time going through my old journals I realized my life adventures, realization and transformation is meant to be shared.  A while back some of my sisters nicknamed me “Queen” and to be 100% honest I could not figure out for the life of me why, but it did make me smile on the inside.  I struggle with this nickname because I figured there isn’t anything special about me to make me deserving of such a title.  Well…then God said “hell yeah there is something special about you fool, wake the hell up! They don’t call you Queen for nothing”.  Yes God curses in my head, it’s our language.  So anyway I realized I am an everyday Queen!   This simply means I live my life as closely aligned to my life’s purpose every day and because of that the universe responds in my favor.  So the Tales of an Every Day Queen has been born!   I hope you all enjoy this ride with me because ordinary life just no longer interest me.

Choose to be!

~Nzali Elela

Panafest: So what will your footprint be?

I’ve always liked history!  Since childhood, social studies/history has always been my thing ya know. Partially because I’m nosey and just like to know random information but also because I like to research the patterns of people. Unfortunately in our American public school system( which I was so privileged to be an attendant of, lol) young African Americans don’t get the full truth and mostly lies.  There is no real connection built with the continent and our existence basically starts from slavery. So as I have made a conscious decision to start a life in Africa, it always takes me back to my childhood where I wondered, who were they before slavery? Well, this past week I was privileged to attend the bi-annual celebration and rededication to the Pan-African movement here in Ghana!!! This event was none other than the 25th Anniversary of PANAFEST!

This week was full of events to help you remember, honor, learn and reconnect with the land.  So this post is dedicated to my reflection on this festival!

First, let’s discuss what Panafest is: Panafest is an event that takes place every two years in Cape Coast, Ghana, West Africa.  This event pulls together Africans of the diaspora to commune together, learn with each other, celebrate and reestablish the next steps of the movement. Pan-Africanism is the concept that all Africans no matter where they are located on the globe are connected and should share a communal bond. So this event was the 25th anniversary and really a sight to see.   There was music, food, lectures, rituals, tribal chiefs, repats, expats and everything in-between. There were many events  but here are a few that really spoke to me:

  1. MUSA Dance Company: So this group performed a theatrical dance to represent how the Europeans were able to come into land and capture and trade African people.  I am a huge fan of dance because I feel that some things are best expressed without words. So this performance really highlighted the emotion and confusion of the time.  It also highlighted the civility of Ghanian culture before Europeans.  The narrative Europeans had to tell themselves and continue to tell themselves about African people and other people of color is that we are uncivilized, uncultured, lack spiritual connection, etc.  But this dance performance spent a great amount of time showcasing the liveliness of Ghanian culture during this time, the structures of government, and the human side of the people.  They were not meek, dumb, silly or less than. These were people with full lives, families, a true society.  It highlighted the trickery utilized as well as the flaws of a few Africans who participated in the trade of human cartel. It also didn’t shy away from the use of religion to justify and control the people. Overall this was a well-balanced picture, which was refreshing. When we tell our own stories we can provide the balance this dance performance did during Panafest.
  2. High-Life Music: So Ghana has this music called high life that is rooted here.  It’s like go-go is to D.C, house music to South Africa, country and western to the south.  It’s full of live instrumentation, upbeats, and dance! Recently the Ghanian community lost one of their high life music legends, so this year they had a whole showcase dedicated to high life!  This was an awesome time because I felt like I flashed back to Kwame Nkrumah’s Presidency!  I felt the culture, the heartbeat of the people. Really a cool experience to see the elders and the youth really enjoy themselves.
  3. The Redemption March: One of the most empowering experiences was the march back to the door of no return.  As a woman born in America but proudly African, this was magical. Many people left those shores in Ghana never to return. But see the way God is set up, no man can interrupt his plan.  The blood of my ancestors runs through me.  To walk to that castle, enter it as a returnee standing on the backs of all the blood sacrifices of my people can not be described. What man meant to be a door of no return, God dismantled when all of these beautiful black people walked back through the doors of that castle. The street was filled with Africans native to Ghana and those who traveled far and wide to return. We all marched with white candles with an ancestor in mind, even if you could not call them by name.  Dressed in white WE RETURNED.  That night was full of song, dance, spoken word, words of encouragement and more. As the waves of the Atlantic ocean crashed against the castle wall as they have done for generations I am sure this time the footprints that left them were pleased with the ones that entered that night, Ase’.
  4. Emancipation Day/ The last bath: This was a great day! Literally all the elders, local chefs came out for emancipation day!  In addition to the royal show down, there was this needed grounding moment at the slave river where our ancestors who were marched from various parts of the country and beyond came to take one last bath before they entered the castles. So in this river I washed, I gave thanks for their sacrifice, did a bit of grounding and smiled knowing I am the dream of the African who was boarded onto a ship so many generations ago.

 

Overall,  I felt renewed in my purpose in being here in Ghana and really ready to continue the charge, leaving a footprint my ancestors will be proud of!  What footprint will you leave behind?

 

 

The cost of attachment to outcomes

Are you attached to the outcome?  When you entered that job, relationship, etc did you expect a certain outcome?  For most of us the answer would be YES!  We have been taught to set goals, achieve those goals, don’t accept no as an answer, work till you see results, PRODUCE, PRODUCE,PRODUCE!  Our acceptance, appreciation, and value has all been tied up into outcomes.  As a teacher I have sat in many meetings where we have discussed measurable goals and outcomes.  It’s almost sickening how we analyze people with numbers. We as a society have EXTREME ATTACHMENT TO OUTCOMES ISSUES!  So this week when I was faced with disappointment I had to sit down and ask myself, what are you really angry and sad about?  The answer was alarming!  I honestly was not upset with the rejection, I wasn’t sadden by the removal of this person from my life in how I had known them.  I was hurt by the realization that my intended outcome would not be.

My attachment to the outcome almost stole my joy.

In my mind I had expectations that had not been established from the beginning.  I had outcomes I was working towards, but neglected to make sure the other person shared the same vision.  I was so focused on the outcome that I forgot to enjoy the journey.  As a result I put pressure on the situation, so much so that I forced the person into a choice that didn’t lean in my favor.  Instead of practicing gratitude and being thankful for the present moment I idealized the potential future.  I couldn’t even appreciate the time spent because of my extreme attachment to the outcome.

Once I realized that outcome would not be, it clouded my judgment of what is.

I know I’m speaking to someone right now, silently suffering because they are so full of disappointment, anger, shame, guilt, sadness because of the attachment to the outcome.  Breaking out of this way of thinking is a daily choice.  I spent a few days out of it, but today I CHOOSE TO BE AT PEACE!  God( however you define the ultimate source) has given us all choice and today I CHOOSE TO LET GO OF OUTCOMES AND ENJOY THE BLESSINGS OF THE NOW!

Right here, right now I accept that “pointing the finger is the way you deny that you have had any involvement in the experience. It is the way you deny your power”~Iyanlya Vanzant

I’m taking back my power.  I will not succumb to blaming another person for me not making my expectations known, or for them choosing something different.  I can’t control the outcome and I’m over trying.

Currently surrendering.  What’s for me won’t miss me.

Signed,

A tired soul

Blue gratitude

My journal pages are my conversations with God!  The other day I was writing out my thoughts and feelings on my recent disappointments.  I had a few moments when the negative thoughts were reigning supreme in my head.  I asked God what do I do when the ache in my heart won’t go away?  What do you do when you can no longer hide behind the numbness of it all?  God what do I do when I can’t seem to practice what I preach?  And literally in the midst of my conversation with God the thought crossed my mind…PRACTICE GRATITUDE.  In the midst of life’s disappointments, practice gratitude.  So immediately in the middle of my rant to God I shifted gears and began my blue gratitude.  It happened like this: Today I am thankful for…

-my smile

-my ability to always bounce back

-my sista Asha

my sista Tuyeni

-the dedication of my parents

-the opportunity and means to travel

-my love for people

-my ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel

-my self awareness

-my booty

-Beyonce, Rihanna,Mama Erykah Badu, India Arie

-sunshine

-rain

-a great book

-my dog Kenzie

-making it through August of last year without a mental break down

-staying sane after all the shit I’ve seen

-my new found love of self

-my ability to be vulnerable

-being able to type this post

-and so much more

 

 

So today or whenever you are feeling blue, try practicing blue gratitude!  Let’s start now, Today I am thankful for…

Keeping hope alive can kill you

This just landed on my heart this morning and I called my sister but she wasn’t available so I figured why not blog it out.

Keeping hope alive for an inconsistent negro(man) will kill your essence as a woman!

I don’t know how else to say it.

When we as women hold space for the possibility of reunion we ultimately kill our own light.  The is no “act right” in the world that you can muster up for a man to want to be or do what you need from him.  Genuine love, care, and concern are intrinsically motivated.

I firmly believe we as women have done too much coddling of grown men and not enough nursing of your own heart. Often times I have ventured off into the realm of being a savage just to find my broken heart waiting on the other end. savage loveInstead of holding out or keeping hope alive, how about we fix our hearts.  All that time we spend trying to get him to see us for who we are we can spend re-polishing ourselves so that the shine/the light radiating off you can’t go unnoticed.  Women spend so much time trying to be seen.  Trying to get someone to notice our value that we don’t take the time to sit and refurbish the diamond. All diamonds when you pick them up out of the dirt look crazy!  They don’t shine, they don’t catch your eye.  But when you spend the time cutting off the excess, crafting the perfect shape, polishing it up, it then becomes worth something.

Let’s take that time ladies, invest in yourself and not in the waiting game.

 

Signed,

Been there, done that, never again!

Confidently Lost

“I’m alone but I’m not lonely, comfortably indulging, and trying to get to know me. I’m just and outline of what I use to be, constantly evolving, steadily revolving.”

The decision to pick up my life once again and relocate to another country was surprisingly easy and freeing. It didn’t take much coaching, my thoughts were not flooded with doubt and fear.  For the first time, I feel this is exactly what and where I’m supposed to be. For the past few months, I have really taken on the mentality that this is my chance to create my life.  Let the adventure of it all take me and groom me into the woman I am but never knew.

“I am CONFIDENTLY LOST!  I don’t need you to find me, you don’t define me. Cause I’m not hiding anything.”

One thing I know for sure is the power of creation.  The more I indulge and fearlessly explore the more confidence I build in myself and the power I harness.
“Made up of hope and meditation, love, imagination, water my creations. Baby it’s amazing, all the days I’m facing, nothing seems to phase me.”
My connection and unwavering belief in the power of God has afforded me the audacity to choose Ghana boldly as my new home!  Many days and many nights I spent getting still.  Many ups and many downs have lead me to this decision to live freely. This journey is about real love, taking chances, the audacity to hope, the belief in my capacity to create.  It truly is amazing!
“Thinking about where I’ve gone, where I’m going.  And I wouldn’t change it for the world.  Thinking about where I’m from, if I belong there, but I wouldn’t change it for the anything.”
Often times people ask me questions like: What about your family, your friends?  Aren’t you going to miss America? What are you going to do there?
And to those questions I say… I love my family and friends but sometimes you have to step away in order to grow.  It’s like the bird in a nest anticipating it’s first flight.  Nobody but you can teach you to fly.  When you step out of that nest nobody but God is there carrying you in the wind, guiding you through your innate knowing of how to fly. The catch to it all is that you have to step out there.  This is my stepping out.  I have never felt more at peace anywhere else in the world.  My body loves who I am in Ghana, my skin glows, my confidence is high, I literally have a physical manifestation of the spiritual favor this place has on my soul.
Will it be hard?…I assume I will have challenging moments, yes.  Will I sometimes fall into negative thinking?…Yes.  But the blessing of it all is that…
” I wouldn’t change it for the world!”
Inserted Song Lyrics by Sabrina Claudio “Confidently Lost”
Heart and Soul of the reflection by Nzali Elela
ghana heart