05.05.2020 Diaspora News

Living the African Dream

66 days and counting - Rashad McCrorey gives details as he unexpectedly goes from business trip to Indefinite expat.
By Rashad McCrorey
Rashad McCrorey at Aburi Botanical Gardens living the African DreamRashad McCrorey at Aburi Botanical Gardens living the African Dream
05.05.2020 LISTEN

Living the African Dream
We often hear stories of the American Dream. From the time of Ellis Island until this very day, we are used to hearing stories of foreigners from all around the world moving to America in search for a better life. However, little is spoken about the African Dream. The dream that many sons and daughters of the African Diaspora possess. A yearning, a calling to return home to the motherland. Some wanting to explore their African roots, some looking to escape systematic oppression, while others looking to explore nature and embrace Africa’s natural resources.

My name is Rashad McCrorey I am the owner of Africa Cross-Culture my Black owned tourism company which escorts guest to the African countries of Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda. While visiting the West Africa country of Ghana on a business trip cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, I made the unexpected decision to stay in Ghana indefinitely rather than return home to New York City. For the last 66 days, I have been living the African Dream.

Hygiene and Sustainability
I wake up every morning and prepare my morning bath. I draw 2 to 3 full buckets of water from the bins located outside my home, take half the water and boil it in a pot. Once boiled, I pour and mix the hot water with the cold, and that is how I enjoy a nice warm bathing session twice a day. I was born and raised in Harlem, New York. For the first time in my life I am regularly visiting a farm, picking fresh vegetables such as cocoa yam from the ground and fresh fruits like cocoa, plantain, and papaya off trees. At the town markets, I purchase all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Many of them much sweeter and in some cases larger than in America especially the mangoes. If the natural fruits are not bigger, as in the case of bananas, which are significantly smaller, all the fruits have seeds in them. I remember as a child introduced to seedless grapes and watermelon. Little did I know fruits with seeds in them would become a missed rarity in the United States.

When I do eat meat (veggies and vegans do not kill me) seeing the chickens that I will be eating has brought my awareness to how we eat in America. I witness the chicken actually eating real worms from the ground. The chickens are fed natural rice and corn, not enhanced steroid filled corn. I have learned to cook a handful of Ghanaian dishes and snacks. I have cooked Banku my favorite Ghanaian dish from scratch, Banku is a mixture of cassava, and corn dough with a sprinkle of salt. I have made plantain chips and peanuts for snacks, by frying and baking them outside using coal, oil and a steal pan. I have prepared guacamole, black pepe aka shito (from the name alone I used to not like shito, I hope you get it), and tomato sauce from only the help of a blender. Eating natural and healthy is something I have never done consistently in my life. It is amazing how much weight I have lost, and how well I am toning up even though I been eating very hearty every day.

This has been a blessing beyond my wildest imagination as far as social distancing. I am staying is spacious, sunny and safe location. Since 2 years old I have suffered from chronic asthma, as much as I would like to share I found a natural remedy, as of now I have not. However, all the pharmacies in my immediate area and from previous experience throughout the country as a whole has always had my asthma medication at a significantly reduced price. For those who are aware of asthma medication. You can purchase 5 days worth of prednisone (a medication used to treat someone who has already had an asthma attack), an asthma controller inhaler, and a relief inhaler both which last for a month all for around $12 a month.

What’s Next
No guest, no events, no meetings, just life. How long will I be here? As of now, the plan is indefinitely. I experience homesickness; I miss my children, mom, friends. I worry about my apartment; I still don’t know how I will make rent long term. On the bright side, I will not garner heavy electricity and gas bills and with the exception of my gym membership, I have been able to cancel all my monthly subscriptions without hassle. A flight is said to be helping U.S citizens in Ghana to return home mid-May, I will consider taking that flight, but I am still comfortable here. My father who passed away last August, used to say never where out your welcome, so I am mindful that during this time it is possible for me to stay to long as the virus is just hitting Africa. I’ve notice the virus hitting Algeria, Morocco, Egypt (Arabic Africa) and South Africa which has a heavy European population. But and a big but, I am one of the people who was late to realize that black Americans were being infected in the United States and now due to health and environmental injustice we have the highest death rate of the virus. I do not want to make the same mistake twice. If I have to leave, I would prefer to leave too early than too late. Nevertheless, the reality is, now I still feel safer and healthier here in Ghana than I would currently be in New York City. My home New York is still facing over 200,000 cases of the virus, and I have yet to see compelling evidence that things are getting better enough for me to leave this remote mountain location for New York City out of all locations.

Another timeline I have decided to go by is my business schedule. We currently have a group trip planned to Egypt for the week of August 7 to August 13. Which at this point I’m almost sure will be postponed. I speak to my Egypt staff weekly to keep me abreast, as Egypt was actually one of the first major world tourism focused countries to close. I am open to staying on the continent until that trip is completed. It is a realistic possibility for me to go straight to Egypt from Ghana then to return home to America, after Egypt in August. Then of course, when things come closer to returning to normal back home that will also be an opportunity for me to come home. I can’t just abandon my home, It’s easy for people to say I should stay forever, but I still have to settle my affairs at home before I can ever truly consider relocating.

Sometimes I wonder why Rashad McCrorey have been chosen to experience the African dream during what I believe is the greatest would crisis since WWII. I am happy, healthy and prospering during a world pandemic and recession. A black American, chronic asthmatic, has been relocated to the Mountains of West Africa, inside of a 160-acre garden, in the middle of the woods during the spread of a highly contagious virus. Black Americans have suffered extreme casualties due to decades of environmentally injustice. As my story continues to develop before his passing, my dad shared me that a written record is better than a mental memory so I will continue to share my story. I ask you all to please keep my in your prayers, meditations, and positive thoughts. Just like the American Dream, the African Dream isn’t perfect but it is where the ancestors want me to be during this critical point in history. When we are passed this, my goal is to be in position to help you live your African Dream also.

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