The Ghana Chronicles: 10

July 17, 2000

Dear Journal,

Mommy wrote me! It was the sweetest letter ever- at the end she said, “Keep your courage darling, embrace this adventure and return to me soon.”

I miss her more than anyone- she’s my comfort zone.  I know her better than anyone.  What is it with mother/daughter relationships that make them so close?  It’s fascinating to me.  Maybe I’ll study that in college.  I can’t believe one year from now I’ll be preparing for college.  I’m growing up too fast.

We were driving in the bus today and it all hit me again like 1000 bricks.  As badly as I long to go home, I’ve realized these people who really live in poverty never get to go home.  They don’t leave in 11 days like me to the comfort of carpet, expensive food and freedom. . . money.  These people live everyday here.  Some never make it out of the country. Everyday they are out on the streets at 5, 6, 7 AM until night time selling cough drops through the window of your moving car as they run to catch up and get the money.  Everyday they sit in front of that electrical appliance store and some days they get lucky and sell a TV- other days, most days, 9 hours are wasted, sitting in the same seat until they lock up, only to return tomorrow, and everyday following.

So how can I wish to escape this poverty? I’m spoiled.  I know what I’ve got waiting for me on the other side of the Great Atlantic.  These people only dream and pray to God for a miracle.

Religion is so huge here.  That’s all they’ve got.  When things are down, pray to God and he’ll help you.

I want to escape because I don’t know, I don’t want to have to live surrounded by poverty anymore.  I want to be able tog home to AC, Good American Cable TV, washing machines, freeze pops, a nice car without exhaust gas blowing straight up my nose from in front of me.  I want to slip on that new blue or hot pink dress, show up at a party and knock ’em dead!

I don’t want to be asked to help people get a Visa everyday or to be asked for my address or my hand in marriage when I don’t even know my taxi driver.  As much as I know I should, I don’t want to feel guilty for my wealth.

But this is why it is a learning experience. . . because I am forced to live in this foreign situation- I am surrounded by and living in poverty whether I like it or not.  For now, I can’t runaway- that is the truth.

Love always,

Lauren

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