Living-Dead Ghanaians Abroad: Ah in Maryland, USA

Wed, 1 Jun 2011 Source: Mensema, Akadu N.

*By Akadu Ntiriwa Mensema, Ph. D.


In the crucible of abroad

Ghanaians are suffering

I saw him

The living-dead abroad

In his work uniform

Preening his uniform

In Gaithersburg, Maryland

Near the Savannah grocery lot

Swinging his pitchfork

Adjusting his name tag

Foraging for garbage

Hunting for garbage

Drowned in putrid tears

Tears of alienation

Tears of homesickness

He got closer to me

His name tag invited me

He was a Ghanaian abroad

Alone, lost in the world

Entombed in a parking lot

Where lifelessness exists

The cemetery of living abroad

The acre of the living-dead

The Savannah Grocery’s lot

Where Ghanaians shop

Shop their life abroad away

Groceries of homesickness

Ah! Ada koobi (salted fish)

Ah! Keta school boys

Ah! Akuapem adwene (mud-fish)

Ah! Ga kenkey & shito

Ah! Fante dokono and butter

Ah! Kwahu ampane (bat)

Ah! Asante grasscutter

I saw him

In a parking-lot

Savannah Grocery lot

The living-dead Ghanaian

Fathering a pitchfork

Mothering a brush/broom

Speaking to himself

Shaking his head

Smiling at nothing

Laughing at himself

Then like a thunderstorm

Riotous tears poured

Tear-ing-up at nothingness

Uncontrollable tears

Welling up his eye sockets

Like a broken dam in a valley

Like a broken inner-spring

Watersheds of acidic pain

Of lost hope

Of homesickness

Of alienation

Of loneliness

Tears poured, flooded

Cascaded over his cheeks

Like the Boti Falls on rocks

I saw him

Hauntingly gaunt

Sauntering with a pitchfork

A snail at crossroads

His shadow beamed slowly

Snailing the parking lot

Sad, forlorn-movement

Entombed in a parking lot

I saw him

Swinging brush/broom

I saw him pitch-forking

Befriending happy stray papers

Befriending jaundiced papers

Befriending dead butts of cigarette

Befriending tattered rubber bags

And his pitchfork/brush recoiled

I saw him

Defining his space

Marching west, east

Marching south, north

All in a day’s work


I saw them all

The walking dead Ghanaians

Silent and dead in their strides

Looking for their lost past

Their sterile present

In staple foods

Kokonte, fufu , kenkey, akpele

Ah! Food is plentiful

But loneliness, alienation

Lethal back-breaking work

Toxic church membership

Vicious gossipy neighbors

Poisonous family problems

Systemic white racism

Murder appetite for food

For kokonte (face the wall)

For gari, fufu

For Ga kenkey, akpele

For tuo safi, Fante dokono

Food is plentiful

But appetite is long-lost

Lost to alienation of self

I saw them all

I saw the living-dead Ghanaians

In Gaithersburg, Maryland

Near the Savannah grocery shop

Speaking to themselves

Shaking their heads

Smiling at nothing

Then tears arrived

Uncontrollable tears

Welling up their eye sockets

Watersheds of pain

Of lost hope

Of homesickness

Of alienation

Of loss of the self

Tears of pain

Cascaded over their cheeks

In the crucible of abroad

Ghanaians are suffering

*Akadu N. Mensema, Ph. D., is a nationalist Denkyira beauty. She is a trained

oral historian cum sociologist and Professor in the USA. She lives in

Pennsylvania with her great mentor and teaches Africa-area studies at a college

in Maryland. In her pastime, she writes what critics have called “populist

hyperbolic, satirical” poetry. She can be reached at akadumensema@yahoo.com

Columnist: Mensema, Akadu N.