I met some student's on the beach at Kokrobite the other day. They were from Denmark and African studies students just like my group 12 years ago. It made me reflect a lot upon broken dreams and life's surprising twists and turns. Getting where I am has certainly involved a lack of planning. I am happy but not even close to the person I was going to be!
When I first arrived in Ghana in 1995 I became known as Akos. This means I was born on a Sunday - I wasn't - but people gave me the name and I took it. It made me feel part of things but of course it just highlighted how much I was not a part of things as I knew so little I took the wrong name. However, it is part of my history and who I am. It seems silly to change it now.
At this time in my life I was firmly 'Sister Akos' to nearly all who knew me and Akos to those older than me. Of course I was also Obroni (white) but generally only to those who did not know me. Now my stature, my age and my children have matured me and I am now known only as 'Auntie', 'Auntie Akos' or sometimes simply as Maame (mother). Now normally the only people who call me sister Akos are impossibly old or huge ladies with whom I am considered on a level. In Ghana all of this is very respectful and I appreciate it. My boss for example is sometimes called Grandma despite being nowhere close to this age it is simply a sign of respect.