Take it from me: the world is not a global village. You may think it is but it is not. In my village, everybody knows me. My sickness is everybody’s sickness. My joy is everybody’s joy. My tears are everybody’s tears.
The more accurate terms to describe the world would be global city. The world is a global city. In my city, only a few people know me. My sickness is but a few people’s sickness. My joy is a few people’s joy and my tears are a very few people’s tears.
I thought Summer or Fall would be the best season to come to the USA because I dread the cold winter season.
My first week in the United States was quite a shock. I stepped off the plane to scorching sun in New York. For a moment I thought I was back in Ghana where i boarded the plane. It must have been at least 28 degrees Celsius that day. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I congratulated myself for choosing the best time to come to this country. On campus, however the weather started playing tricks on me.
Back home, the weather is quite reliable so all I needed to do before I step out of my home was to look out the window at the skies and I would instantly know what to expect depending on whether it was the rainy season or the dry season.
Here, I would look out and see a clear, beautiful sky with lush sunshine and dress appropriately. But, when I step out, it would be cold as hell. The sun would be out but it would be cold. I mean this sun is not quite as potent as the one in West Africa. In West Africa, the sun literally burns the skin but here it gently kisses you whenever it deigns shine its rays on you from up above.
The weather can be quite unpredictable too. One moment it’s beautiful and sunny the next it’s raining or downcast. The transition is so fast and smooth that you are not even aware of it. In West Africa, the rain gives you advance warning with thunder rumblings, strong winds and drizzles before the full force of the rain is felt.
So now I am always prepared and have become more adept at predicting the weather. Now, I check the weather forecast on the internet before i step out.
I watch a lot of TV and I am an unapologetic movie buff. But even for someone like me, there are are some pretty ANNOYING shows on American TV.
The other night there was this show on TV where they have a panel of 4 people including the host discussing people’s wardrobe on a red carpet. I am not really a fashion expert but I found the show to be quite superficial and ANNOYING. They would make comments like: “the hairdo makes her look like she is 45 when she is just 19”. They would say: “I don’t like the color of her dress. It’s red just like the carpet”. Who cares? And sometimes they go: “Oh there is something wrong with the white shirt he is wearing under that suit. It looks cheap”. WTF?
There is this other show on MTV called Rob & Big. I just don’t get the plot. Can someone please enlighten me? The Wendy Williams Show on BET is really ANNOYING to me. It’s all gossip and in my opinion is a bad knock-off of Oprah Winfrey Show. I think Tyra Banks does a better job with her show.
It is very easy to get addicted to television in the United States. Like many other things in this country there is an unlimited number of options, countless “reality” shows and talking heads. There is something for everybody from the weird to the educational. Quantity does not necessarily mean quality.
I used to complain that we had so few TV channels in my country Benin but I am starting to feel that it should stay that way. In my country, TV shows are not produced as well as they are here in the USA. The picture quality is not up to par, the sound is often awful and the delivery leaves much to be desired. It is therefore very easy to turn off the TV and read a book. Here in the United States the most USELESS and ANNOYING shows are so well packaged that it is a 100 times more difficult to turn off the TV.
Often, I find myself running out of my apartment to escape the spell of the tube lest I succumb to its charms and perish in an endless abyss of so called entertainment.
By the way my host family just lent me a 27 inch television. Only God can save me now.
An Encounter with Edwardsville Police Department's Finest
The first week after my arrival in the United States, communication with family and friends was quite a challenge to say the least. After a few days of agony, having had enough of this impossible situation, I decided to take the bus to the nearest telecommunication store. A Nigerian friend of mine wrote down directions to an AT&T store that she knew of. So armed with confidence and not feeling like an alien in Edwardsville (thanks Sting), I took the 17 Shuttle to Edwardsville Station.
At the station I realized that I did not have 1$ to pay for the next bus. I did not know beforehand that I had to have a $ not 5$ so I run into a bar to buy a Pepsi for change and run back to the station like a 100m dash record holder. Usain Bolt would have been proud of me. All my efforts were in vain, the bus left. I tried to walk but got lost. I doubled back to the station, stood there thinking about my next line of action when like a scene in an action movie a police car drove slowly by the station.
I did not hesitate a second. I waved and the officer stopped right in front of me. I told him of my predicament. I let him know that I was lost, just got to the USA a week ago to do my master’s at SIUE and I would appreciate it if he could give me a ride. I don’t know if people do that often but at this point I was desperate.
The officer asked me for my school ID, my passport, run some checks I guess and asked me if I didn’t have any weapons, bomb or anything like that on me. I politely replied that I didn’t. So he asked me to hop in. He gave me a ride to the AT&T store. On the way we had a nice conversation and I hope I corrected some of the wrong ideas he had about Africa being a place of wars and conflicts. I have lived in Africa all my life and I have never experienced any war or conflict. There are millions of people like me. By the way I thought the officer was a nice, decent Caucasian chap who happened to be ignorant about Africa.
I did not think much of this encounter but when I told people about it, everybody said the officer was being racist for interrogating me like that. One person said it wasn’t racism but the police in general acted “funny” with foreigners especially since 911.
DO YOU THINK HE WAS BEING RACIST?
Anyway, I didn’t care at the time whether he was being racist or “funny”. All I wanted was a ride and I got my ride. THANK YOU OFFICER!
3 years ago, a good friend of mine told me that I wrote quite well and encouraged me to start a blog. I followed her advice and started the African Maverick. I really did not know what I was doing but I just followed the crowd like most of us do. Blogging was the in thing. Needless to say after a couple of posts, the blog died a natural death.
The obituary would read something like… The African Maverick Blog died a quick and natural death after months of neglect and general abandonment. Blogging is not for everyone! RIP. That was the year 2007 back in Ghana. Fast forward to September 2009 in the USA.
3 days ago, I tried to resurrect the blog. I remembered that my father told me to document my epic journey to the land of opportunity… les États Unis. He wants to know everything about my experiences in America. Anyway, no matter how hard I tried to resurrect the African Maverick at the cemetery, I had no success until it occurred to me that I was stuck in time. I am not Jesus to be raising the dead you know. I wish i could though…… I know a few people I could bring back to life.
I was stuck in time, I was 3 years behind technologically speaking. African Maverick was created with Blogspot but the craze these days is facebook, twitter, tumblr. I quickly did a 360 and jumped on the Tumblr bandwagon and folks it’s a breeze. I landed firmly on my feet and even managed to connect with the facebook and twitter crowds en deux temps trois mouvements. I did not resurrect the original African Maverick but I sure did clone it!
What was I doing in Ghana apart from killing blogs? What am I doing in the USA when I am not resurrecting the blogs that I had earlier killed? IT’S A LONG STORY but it will be told.
Please visit the grave of the original African maverick (mafoyalafricain.blogspot.com) if you are the type that likes to hang around cemeteries and read epitaphs of complete strangers.