It’s Senior Year!!! I am back on campus and I have been soooooooooooooooo busy since I got back so I haven’t been able to update you guys about much. I am currently taking a whole bunch of awesome classes (Economic Development –we actually get to attend a conference and talk to very important peeps in the area of Heterdox economics who’s works we’re studying class. Should be interesting — French translation (J’adore la langue!) — West African Dance (quite a work out lol) –Astronomy (gosh, earth really is quite insignificant when you think about the enormity of the Universe….and now I’m pretty convinced there HAS to be other beings out there…we can’t be the only ones in the universe.lol). Oh, and I’m writing a senior thesis in Economics so I’m taking a senior thesis seminar… My topic: A Comparative Analysis of Economic Development in Ghana and Malaysia .Why Ghana and Malaysia? Both countries gained independence in 1957 — Ghana in March, and Malaysia in August. At the time, Ghana’s GDP was higher than Malaysia…and it turns out Malaysia got their first palm fruit from Ghana….fast forward 50 years into the future, and Ghana is NOWHERE close to Malaysia’s development….and Malaysia is a leader in the palm oil industry…so what pushed Malaysia ahead? What did Ghana do wrong? What can Ghana learn from Malaysia? Apparently a detailed study has not actually been conducted on this…so I would be one of the first…and it should be interesting tooo…..I think I’m not only becoming an economist who’s more into policy and macroeconomics….I might be becoming a heterodox economist. (Feels good to be able to define my niche in the econ world lol. Thats what education is all about no?)
Okay, I’m going off topic now.lol. Basically, I am trying my best to make the most of my final year at MHC – working as an editor of Perspectives (the international section of the college newspaper) for the Mount Holyoke news — got our first edition out today…its interesting working on the newspaper from the perspective of an editor. You can read the MHN at http://www.themhnews.com/ . Ok, so when I got back to school in late August, the new students got to MHC and I was on the Orientation team to help them adjust to life at MHC…. we did a session on diversity called ‘Intersections” where myself and some other MHC students wrote and performed Monologues that touched on issues such as racism, sexism, sexuality, learning disabilities, religion, etc etc. Here are the two monologues I performed. I was a great experience and its nice to know that so many people learnt from my writings. The first is called ‘I’m Just Me’ — I actually wrote the first part when I was like 14 or 15years, and the second part talks about my identity as a Ghanaian and African. The second monologue is called “Women” — and it was my first attempt at free-writing and I absolutely love it! — It talks about my identity as a woman…and basically talks aba women in general too. Enjoy!
I’m Just Me
I’m not who people imagine I am . I’m not what others expect me to be . I’m not even who I sometimes think I am. But that’s exactly it; I’m just me.
I’m a girl. Now become a woman. I interact, but still stay detached. I’m searching and sometimes think I’ve found. But that’s exactly it; I’m just me
I’m confident, and it shows…most of the time. I’m different, you just don’t know how much. I’m not everything, just anything I can be. But that’s exactly it; I’m just me
I feel, though I sometimes stay indifferent. I desire, but try to keep that in check. I stay strong, yet break down and cry. But that’s exactly it; I’m just me
I inspire others, it keeps me going too. I keep busy, my disguise for loneliness. I keep silent, to search within. But that’s exactly it, I’m just me
I create; build things up a block at a time. I fail; an indication of the need for change. I rejuvenate, when my energy runs out. But that’s exactly it, I’m just me
I learn, every way I can. I look back, and try to stay in focus. I decide, and stay mindful of other possibilities. But that’s exactly it, I’m just me
I am Ghanaian.
To some this just means I’m most likely a poor, disheveled young girl from a war-torn country who hasn’t had a bite to eat in days.
In reality, I am a strong, healthy, educated, beautiful and blessed Ghanaian and African woman with a supportive family who comes from a country that is endowed with many resources and that continues to strive on despite seemingly discouraging circumstances.
It means I am filled with hope to work hard at everything I do, to welcome each and every experience I have in life as a learning experience and to take in whatever lessons I can along the way.
It means I come from a country with a vibrant culture that is interesting and dynamic. It means I feel proud whenever I meet another Ghanaian or African because I know I am not alone in this world, even if I am far away from home.
It means I do not take it to heart when people ask me ignorant questions about my country or continent – like “So, do you live in trees?” or “How come you speak English” – I take it as an opportunity to share a part of who I am with them.
It means I am an individual who is more complex than what is portrayed in the media and I realize that the only way to dispel stereotypes about myself and my country is to be a living example and to be patient with myself and with others.
But that’s just it…I’m just me!
Being a woman is no easy feat, from day one you are told you have to remain in your seat
Even if your parents and family don’t give you this directive, your society will find a way of making sure you adhere to its expectations to the hilt
At home you might be the eldest child, but others will remind you still that when your younger brother grows up you will have to answer to him
People expect you to look pretty all the time, and can’t comprehend why you would choose to ball instead of remaining as poised as a doll
Having an opinion on issues in the men’s realm is regarded as being intrusive
But they forget that man is begotten by woman and so at the end of the day, his issues are strongly linked to hers
You get a good job and try to put your point across, yet all he tells you is to be happy you have this position and to follow his orders
You choose not to get married right after college and it’s regarded as an abomination and ‘rather unfortunate’ because how else will you prove yourself worthy
You decide to not sit and dally, but rather to take on the patriarchal world with its injustices to women everywhere and you are labeled a hard-core feminist who some man probably did wrong to back in the day – this from both men and women
You are beautiful to the core- from the gleam of determination in your eyes to the strong arch of your back that carries your 5-month baby on your way to the riverside
You are a woman, and a very important person in this life and always
Label you as they want, try to contain you as they do, beat you down as is the case, they cannot but admit to the fact that you are and will always be a gorgeous and exceptional woman
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.