After four years in the fast-paced northeast, this immigrant kid has returned to the dirty south and Ghanaian home that I hold so dear. As an unemployed post-grad with no driver’s license, I leap at any chance to get dressed in real clothing and leave my little corner of suburbia. Today, that chance came in the form of a trip to the African food store. For those reading who are thinking that there can be nothing more mundane than a grocery shopping trip, let me assure you that this place isn’t selling your run of the mill lettuce-and-tomato type fare.
Upon entering, I was hit with the overwhelming smell that instantly transported me back to the dusty Makola Market in Accra. A cart was selected and my mother and I started slowly down the narrow aisles under the incredibly suspicious gaze of the shopkeeper. Moments later, I found this gem:
Among many interesting and sometimes unidentifiable animals and products, was this porridge mix that my mother was thinking of buying until she was confronted with the possibility of varied species in her balanced breakfast.
Around this time, the shopkeeper stared down my mom and said sharply “Are you Nigerian?” My mother responded with a “No, I’m actually from Ghana” which apparently was the correct answer because she started talking in excited Ga. While she and my mother carried on like bosom buddies, I wandered around and found this:
This store was a veritable treasure trove. You can’t make this stuff up, kids.
We paid and I listened to the shopkeeper’s vaguely homophobic rant about the current state of sin in America. I was tempted to step in and use my fancy liberal arts education to school her in acceptance but a glare from my mother made it clear that you don’t bite the hand that feeds you meat pie.
More than anything, this trip made me feel like a kid again. It made me feel like an eight year old shopping with my grandmother amidst the commotion of downtown Accra. Or like a twelve-year-old impatiently eating plantain chips while my mother sifts through piles of dried fish. With all this adulthood-business going down, it’s nice to know that some things don’t change.
Plus, if nothing else, I got some great ideas for soliciting a roommate come fall: