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“I am going to live here forever.”

October 1, 2009

Accra, where I learned how old I finally am

I can sympathize with this kid, rapt at the window as we descend into Ghana. “This is Ghana,” he repeats with awe. He turns to his mother and declares the same, with slightly more urgency. “Welcome to Accra Ghana!” she says. “I love it here,” he says. “I’m going to live here forever.” More raptured staring. “Ghana is definitely better than America.” By now, we’ve sunk under even the rooftops, and we’re just about to make contact with the hallowed soil of Ghana. It is too much for him, this seven-year-old in a t-shirt and a dapper corduroy jacket. “The houses! It’s Ghana! All this is Ghana!”

As the trees whiz by, he formalizes his plan. “If we live here forever, maybe we can find my new daddy and you can get married to him,” he says to his mom, light in his eyes. She doesn’t seem to like this game much any more.

She goes to pick up a bag a few rows back, and he and I wait to join the herd leaving the plane. “You’re excited to be here?” I ask. He nods. “I love Ghana!” “Have you been here before?” I ask. He shakes his head.

“I’m going to live here forever. Do you want to live here forever?”

“Well, maybe if you find a good place and I can be your neighbor.”

“My mother?”

“No, your neighbor. I saw your mother, she seems very cool.”

“She says I can stay here, but she’s going to leave,” he says.

“Well then I will be your big sister,” I offer.

“Or,” he concludes, “a big mom.”

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