First I have to gush over how much I love my Godfather. I went to see him today as my cousin is in Ghana at the moment. God-daddy said that he may not be around for my birthday so he was giving me a gift in advance. He furnished me with a lovely piece of Kente, blue and yellow, the colour is beautiful and bright, and I so can’t wait to sew a lovely elegant kaba and slit (the top and skirt designs that you see the African women wear in those Essence magazines). I will post a pic of it on bb/facebook soon for those who have my profile.
So to today. I went back to the clinic today, I needed to sort out this cold issue but there was no way I was going to see the female Dougiee Houser who only specialised in tropical diseases for her to tell me I haven’t got malaria but here’s a dosage of medicine that are not appropriate to your ailment.
I got to reception and picked up my card, it wasn’t long before I was called up (not so many sicklers on a Thursday it seems, the pessimist in me thinks it may have something to do with it being so close to the weekend, but I could be wrong). When I got to reception I asked if I could see a GP but not the young lady I met yesterday. Doctor Wanda she asked, and described her. I said that sounds like the one. She gave a little humph and a knowing smile. She then told me to tell the nurses in the temperature room that I would like to see another doctor.
I did same, and when I said that I wasn’t very impressed by this so called doctor, they asked again “doctor Wanda?” They described her. Definitely the one. The two nurses looked at each other and gave the same response as the receptionist. I guess Doctor Wanda had a reputation, confirmed as I walked past the waiting room with only a few patience waiting as opposed to the doctor I was about to see who had a room full of people waiting.
I went to waiting room 5 and waited, it took an hour and a very good nap before she saw to me. In the meantime I had to listen to a very local guy with a very strong American slang tell someone over the phone that he was accosted by armed robbers. Occasionally his accent would slip to give away the fact that he may have never seen past immigration at Kotoka International Airport but apart from my nap he and his slanging were the highlight of my afternoon.
So I got to see the doctor about an hour later, explained the situation, told her I did not go for the lab tests because my symptoms are nowhere near identifiable with malaria. She had actually read the previous notes which was a bonus, and we were able to talk about what was actually wrong as opposed to speaking to someone who had already made up her mind that it was Malaria.
So anyway got what I needed and then I thought as I’m here I will get my painkillers for my women’s pains. We discussed my issues with the pain, as with a lot of women especially women of colour I have an issue with fibroids. When I first discovered this after being tested, I was told that if I operate it will reduce my fertility rate, so I deal with the pain until at least I have one child, but the longer I wait, the less my chances still. I am quite old fashioned as you may have gathered by now. I want to do the fairytale romance, princess wedding, (happy) marriage and then have a child born out of love, not too much to ask. My doctor yesterday, bless her, I know she was trying to be helpful but she didn’t really help. She asked me my age, I told her, she gave me a very sympathetic ahhhh, then recommended a sperm bank and told me there are one’s in Ghana. She said by the age of 50 you are no longer considered by your marital status but by the amount of kids you have. Nice, but still not helpful. She said, a lot of Legon boys donate so I could pick out a brainy one, still not helping and quite embarrassing as the nurse in the room had started to throw me looks as if to wonder if I didn’t like men or something, but she meant well. I smiled, said thank you and ran back to the office.
So feeling slightly depressed that the doctor implied that at my age I should give up on the whole idea of love and jump ahead to the baby, I looked to facebook to cheer me up. Joy fm usually have a topical discussion borne out of someone’s situation, which the readers are invited to bring their opinions. I don’t really read the opinions part as the answer to everything is to put it into prayer, I the person needs a bit more than prayer otherwise the topic would not have been posted but anyway I digress.
This topic was about some girl, she was dating some guy called Frank but an old family friend from the States had expressed interest in marrying her, her family were doing their best to arrange for her and this yankee guy to hook up, so now she was torn between Frank and yankee boy as she didn’t want to disappoint her parents (plus she was starting to come round to the idea of having a more financially stable guy, I get the feeling that Frank was just starting out in life, but that’s an aside). A bit of an extreme case but I’d like to pick out the bit on arranged marriages.
Now when I talk about arranged marriages, I am not talking forced marriages, and this honour killings that we read about in the newspaper. I just mean using family members to help out in the introductory stages of the courting process.
In my college days I used to work part time in a retail establishment which sold mobile phones. There was this young Asian man, muslim, he said that he was entering into an arranged marriage. At the time I thought of these forced marriages whereby the parents go to India force some girl from the village to marry this man from England and they live in marital hell until the girl is able to run away. I had met another lady earlier who had entered into an arranged marriage and she was unhappy, on top of that she was living with the in-laws her only saving grace was the affair she was having with her doctor, so was only looking at the negative. But this guy explained to me that it was more like a kind of service, the parents didn’t just pick one girl for him and make them marry, but they would introduce him to a girl, they would have a time to get to know each other, if they hit it off, then marriage, if not, they would look for a more compatible solution. However, there would have to be a consensus that the two wanted to get married, so it probably wouldn’t be instant love at the time of marriage, but at least they would like each other enough to want it to grow.
Living in the west, I see people entering into marriage late, whether it be because they are too fixated on their career, or just unlucky in love, whatever the reason, it is not uncommon for two people to get married way into their 30s. I also see people turning to dating websites as a means to meet that special someone, some have worked but the risk is that there are some real freaks out there. So what is wrong with going down the “arranged marriage” route. Being introduced to a potential partner through a family member. It is more or less like being set up on a blind date.
Back in the day in Africa it was quite common especially in the villagers. When a potential suitor came up, their background would be checked out in any case so it was easier if a couple were “recommended” to each other to cut out the time. The only downside is that back in the day, the couple felt obliged to marry and often it didn’t work out because they didn’t really take the time out to get to know each other, but that is not to say, now in the noughties, women are much more educated now, and people are getting wise to the fact that love and respect is a great part of the marriage but at the same time especially as one gets older, it is hard to find the one.
Quite often, when you meet a guy in a bar, on the street, wherever, you start dating, he hasn’t met the parents yet because it is in the earlier stages. He quite literally treats a girl like he picked her off the street. Then time is wasted as you realise this man is a piece of sh*** who just wants to get his leg over.
Your family on the other hand, they are never going to pick a guy who they suspect is a cad. They want the best for you, so what’s wrong with them picking a guy out for you. At least they know his background, his family, his personality, the only thing they will not know is if the two people have chemistry but hey they can’t do everything for you. But at least you will have some insight into his personality by knowing that the family knows he comes from a good home, whether his background is compatible to yours, and he can’t lie to you that he’s single when he’s married with 3 kids. You will also know that he’s in the same place as you are if he’s also willing to participate in this introduction and not later down the line after he’s got his leg over tell you he’s not ready for to settle down.
Now some of you might be thinking, it makes you look desperate, what about if the pick some bog eyed, buck teeth bow legged person for you, it would make you feel like you are being treated like a kid, your parents picking out a guy like they picked out your clothes when you were 5 years old. The guy might treat not treat you well because you were “picked” for him. What if he’s just doing it to appease his parents. As I said it is not a forced marriage, it is merely a helping hand. You know your mind and you know whether you are compatible. If you are like me, single in your 30s, it is not because you “have a tree growing out of your face” like my good friend E would say, it is not because you are a complete bitch, it is because life has thrown you a few lemons, you’ve made a few wrong choices, and/or you’ve wasted your time on a relationship that just wasn’t meant to be. It happens. We are not all meant to meet the love of our life by 20 married by 25 and have kids by the age of 30, some of us will have kids already but there is no man is no where in sight. Some of us will think we found love and find out later it was mere fantasy and when the reality dawns on you, you have found your way in the danger zone. But the fact is we have known what is bad for us, we should know by now what is good for us, but for whatever reason, we are still waiting for the good to happen.
It’s a risk, life is a risk, when you sit in your car, get on a train, go to your house, there is a risk that something may go wrong in life, but we get up every morning and live our lives. Maybe we should start thinking outside the box. As I said, I don’t look at it as an “arranged marriage” per se, but a helping hand in finding your match. The dating websites, the blind dates, the chance meetings at a club or restaurant, or even in the office, we’ve experienced an encounter in at least one of those scenarios. Why not try a family recommendation.
Ten years ago, I probably would have had these doubts about “arranged marriages”, but as I continue this journey, not only the journey to Africa but in discovering myself (sounds corny but it’s true). I am opening my mind to new thoughts, new ways of doing things, it’s a thought anyway.