I am child of the Diaspora but I was born on American soil. Both my parents came to the United States from another country. My mother grew-up in Montserrat, a tiny island in the Caribbean, and my father in Ghana, which is in West-Africa. For my parents, America represented the opportunity for an education and ultimately a better life for their children. They sacrificed, overcame hardship, and adversity to achieve “The American Dream”. My parents epitomize the myth of meritocracy, the “pull yourself-up by your bootstraps adage”. If they made it, immigrants to this country, then we as the 1st generation had no excuse. “You have to work hard, get good grades in school Afua”. I grew up hearing stories about the hardships of life back home which inspired me to develop a strong work ethic and to value education. Poverty had figured prominently in my mother’s upbringing. “You never knew where your next meal was coming from” she would say. Her family was so destitute that her eldest brother Leroy raised chickens, goats, and sheep for a little extra money. She had only 1 outfit which she washed by hand and wore to school everyday. Back-breaking work she also performed routine chores—milking cows, pumping water from the tank, carrying buckets of water on her head for miles until home, planting cotton and sugarcane, and taking care of the animals that her brother raised for money. My mother has come along way from that little country girl back in the island. A college graduate, registered nurse, business woman, she is proof that the dream works. Or is she? Yet, it is impossible to be where I am today without her. I am imbricated in her history. I am because she is.
Created: Jul 09, 2010Document Media