As I drove from the airport in Accra, Ghana, the car windows were open letting in the intense heat and humidity of an African evening- the sky was so dark only lit by a few oil lamps, flash lights and the few who had generators. I knew taking a storytelling job with an anti-slavery organization in Ghana would change the course of my life but to what extent, I did not know.
Eric and I met one and a half months into my trip. In my first weeks, I spent everyday interviewing for a book I was working on, at a local restaurant where Eric was a waiter. Eric had just left a job that he had for years and years, in search of a better life. I guess I was doing the same when I took the job in Ghana.
Thousands of miles away from each other yet somehow we ended up at the same place at the exact same time. Just as he left his job for a new life I had packed my bags from NYC to Ghana in search of a new path and meaning.
Everyday I looked forward to the interviews at the restaurant so I could see Eric. He had the brightest smile and his forehead wrinkled when he was concentrating. I would order a drink or food just so he had to walk over to our table and I could say hello. I was smitten.
I left Ghana for a two week journey to Tanzania and thought of Eric daily. While I sat bundled in blankets in the clouds, a view of Mount Kilimanjaro out my window, I wrote in my journal that one day I would return with Eric at 35, married. We hadn’t even had our first date yet, but I knew.
When I returned from Tanzania I had messages from Eric on my phone, eager to know when I was returning. When we met at the restaurant he wrapped his arms around me- my palms were sweaty, my heart thudding in my chest. And that was it.
Eric use to ride his motorbike to my guesthouse every night after work. I could hear the roar of the bike as he approached. We would sit on the roof of a half built home on the compound, under millions of stars, the town pitch black from power outages and tell stories of our life. Eric would teach me to sing local songs and how to speak his language.
And then, I had to go home…
After, skype calls, love letters and lots of immigration paper work, we married in a tiny chapel in my hometown.
We welcomed our baby girl a year ago and we tell her stories of our love, her second home and family in Ghana and Eric teaches her to sing local Ghanaian songs. Before she could talk she was making noises in the beat of the drum from one of the songs.
And we still plan to visit Tanzania when we are 35 as I wrote in my journal. Some things are written even before we write it down ourselves.
1. (selfie) 2. Jacquelene Amoquandoh 3. Dan Hall 4. friends of friends 5. my midwife 6. Amma Rhea