Waking up [in Ghana] to Trump

Starr FM, a local radio station, interviewed me the day before the U.S elections. I was live in the studio while they had two contacts over the phone currently in the U.S. I was intimidated by one of the callers…being a historian at a University, he knew much about the election. A lot more than I knew. I chose my words carefully as the man grilled me about “why I didn’t like Trump”. Taking into account the third caller said he “wasn’t sure who to vote for”, I ended my time in the studio with this awkward statement: “I just hope whoever wins, everyone can be nice and loving to each other. There’s been talk of succeeding…I simply hope that whatever happens everyone can wake up the next day and continue with their daily life”

 

Of course, this above statement was coming from the space that Hilary would win the election.

 

Due to the time change, watching the American elections in Ghana would mean staying up from 4am-~7am. Certain Hilary was going to win, why would I stay up all night? I fell asleep with a content smile on my face.

I wake up the next morning to a text from one of my Ghanaian friends: “Trump is going to win, looks like you’re going to get married hehehe” referring to my radio-jokes that if trump won, I needed a husband to stay in Ghana with. The text sent a shot of fear down my stomach.

I then googled “U.S election results” of which it gave Trump a large lead. I was stunned.

After a few texts and calls with people from home…Trumps win was official.

“Babe, what are you going to do? What if he doesn’t let you stay?” I heard Keisha say on the phone to her Zimbabwean boyfriend. My heart broke. “Ready to go to Agbobloshie?” Brenna texted me. Today I had planned to go teach at one of the poorest regions of Accra.

 

I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror…then pictured breaking the mirror with my fist. “Why did this happen” I thought.

“Excuse me!!” this woman yells. She scurries to me at the bathroom sink. My toothbrush was almost in my mouth when she asked “Are you American?”

I nodded.

“Can I record your answers to a few questions about the election? For *Something something radio station*? Only a simple statement on the thoughts of your election…”

I hadn’t processed the election results yet, let alone what this girl was saying to me. I guess I nodded because next thing I knew the phone was in my face. “I’m not happy with the results” I said. “why?” “because I don’t like trump”

“why?” “it’s just not good. It’s very bad”

“Ok, anything else you want to say”

“no”. I was downstairs with Brenna stuffing an egg sandwich down my throat so we could leave on time when another girl came to both of us. More phones were in my face. We both made similar sentiments.

“What am I doing?” I thought on the cab ride over, unable to think about anything else but the election. “I can’t teach kids in this state”.

We arrived at the school, passed the three ‘classrooms’ happening in the alcoves of the ground floor of the old building and then climbed the narrow, crooked staircase to the upstairs classrooms. I ended up teaching a large group ranging from the age of 12-16. I kept my purse on while teaching as there wasn’t a secure place to put it. The original teacher of the classroom left 5 minutes into my lesson, clearly needing to put his time somewhere else as the school had many students and few teachers.

The students were respectful, interested, and fun. They adored having a foreigner in their presence. They didn’t care (or even know) about Trump. They didn’t know their classroom was the biggest lack of resources I’ve ever seen. They didn’t know they had little. All they knew was their life, their day to day routine, and their school. And Today, the day Trump got elected, they knew me.

I thought them how to convert a measurement in millimeters to centimeters and vice versa.

“I want to come to America” They’d tell me and Brenna individually. “A very bad man just got elected in America” We’d say. “You don’t want to come there. Go to the U.K instead”.

My eyes started to tear up. Was this the future for black children in the U.S?

Black people can’t cut a break anywhere.

As time passed, the children were so loving to Brenna and I. Their love made me happy. I saw, despite Trump’s awfulness, how lucky I am to be American. How lucky I am to be in Ghana. And How fortunate I am to have the tools to act empowered in the face of Trump.

Trump can’t stop us from loving. Please remember that the next time he says something hateful.

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