Updated: Sep 18, 2019
My grandfather asked me what my favorite country to visit was.
I responded, “Ghana, definitely.”
He breathed a surprised chuckle, saying, “you’re braver than I am,” and smiled and shook his head.
In another life, that would be an amazing compliment. Who doesn’t dream of living to be just as brave—if not braver—than the generations before us?
I thought back to Ghana, and the love I experienced there. How I walked almost every street feeling safer than home in the States, how when I was lost people came to help offering smiles and sharing God through their actions. Something unfamiliar, sure, but never something sinister. Something surprisingly sweet.
It makes me think of who really taught us that poor is measured in what our homes or our hands look like. Who said that a place like Ghana is scary when a place like The States had me staying home at night for fear of what would happen if I couldn’t run fast enough? Who said that another culture they couldn’t experience was so intimidating because people would want to talk to approach me?
Do you know what happened when people came up to me in the streets of Ghana?
They asked me questions.
“It must be scary in America, with all your guns.”
“With all those people fighting for money.” “Would you like to come over for dinner?”
Who ever taught me that a place like Ghana is a place for brave people like me, when braver people approached me in the street and offered a hand to a foreigner?
A “poor” traveler who knew nothing of what to expect except stereotypes and sadness and instead was approached with kindness and humility?
I was fortunate enough to be in the audience when Salem University and Odyssey author Lorina Morton questioned the seminar, “how many interactions did you have with a local that didn’t involve a transaction?”
For being low on money and even lower on love, my faith in both my Christianity and myself grew from these people who saw my struggle as their own. I have found another home and a newfound love for Ghana, myself and the world around me that I wouldn’t have without Ghana’s help.
So what country has the most to teach us about love in ourselves and one another?