In 2002, I got a scholarship to study in America. I was scheduled to leave in three months. I went up and down trying to get everything ready before my departure. For some reasons I told my family to keep it a secret until I got to America.
I got to University of Massachusetts, Boston, to study Business Administration and Management. The first year of school was amazing, making friends, and meeting new people every day. Life was good until my father fell ill with a stroke. Those were hard times for my family and I. My father was the breadwinner of the family so the situation was dire.
I had to work extra hours to get enough money for myself and send some to my family at home. After a while, joggling work and school became extremely difficult, I missed most of my lectures almost every day, and if I showed up to class, I always came late, so I dropped out of school to work, not necessarily dropping out, I wrote to the school dean to defer my study indefinitely, but this arrangement expires after five years. I told myself I would get back to school soon as life was a little comfortable.
I lost my scholarship after two years. I could have gone back to school but that would mean I had to fund my education myself and I could not, education in America was expensive, and I did not have that kind of money, so I had to forget about school and drop out completely.
I lived in America waiting (waiter) tables for $9 an hour every night and during the day; I washed dishes and plates for $5 an hour. At times, I went to big shopping malls to push carts from the parking lots back into the malls; I was paid $2 for each five carts I pushed. Sometimes I worked overtime just to send enough money to take care of my father, mother and three younger sisters. This was not the American dream I thought I would be living, but I was a hustler from the streets of Madina, I had to grind.
One day I met a Liberian who was a cab driver (taxi driver) on a trip to New York City; he was playing a song from Samini in his taxi, so I asked if he was a Ghanaian, but he said Liberian, he was called Moses. Interestingly he stayed a little in Ghana before relocating to America. We talked a lot on my ride and we exchanged numbers in the end; he seemed like a nice person. When I got back home to Boston, Moses asked me if I was interested in being a cab driver in New York, he told me the commission was good so I moved and relocated to New York. I got into the taxi driver business and Moses was right, the money was good. It was better than waiting tables and cleaning dishes.
In the first 8 months, I was “perching” (to live with someone temporarily) with Moses, after a year, I moved out and got my own apartment. Just when I thought life was getting better, I got the unfortunate news that my father had passed away. It broke my heart, I had not seen my father and family in almost 9 years, I was devastated by the news. I told my family I wanted to be at the funeral so they should not bury him until I come to Ghana the following year.
My original visa was an F1 visa, also known as the student visa, which was valid for 4 years. And because I had overstayed my welcome, I became an illegal immigrant; there was the risk of never coming back to the US if I came to Ghana. Therefore, I looked for a lawyer to help me get a visa that would ensure I could get a return visa back to the US. God being so good and after spending lots of money on legal fees, I got the visa I was looking for, which meant I could return back to the US after staying in Ghana for 90 days.
I came to Ghana for the first time after 10 years. It was all happiness and tears seeing my mother and sisters. I was happy to see my family again even though under such unfortunate circumstance. I buried my father successfully and returned to America.
When I came back to America, I realized I was lonely and needed a companion. I wanted a helper who would be my backbone and supporter. Also, I missed my Ghanaian meals, I wanted a woman who would make me feel like living in Ghana from America. I soon started talking to this lady I met when I came to Ghana to bury my father. She was one of the young ladies who were helping my sisters take care of all the guests that came for the funeral. She was a beautiful girl and very hardworking. And the good part was that everyone talked very good about her. She was the only daughter of her mother and her dad had also passed away some few years ago.
I told her I wanted to come to Ghana and marry her, she agreed. After 2 years, I came to Ghana again, married this girl traditionally, and went back to America. I told her I will start a connection to bring her to America to stay with me. I was able to secure a one-year visa for my wife. I paid her trip to come stay with me. The “connection” was expensive but I knew it would be worth it in the end. When my wife came to America, I told her, in a year I would be able to apply for citizenship, green card. However, just in case my application is not granted I wanted us to get a plan B, plan B was to get her pregnant so that we can use the baby to get the green card.
God being so good, she got pregnant in two months; you can imagine the joy I felt. I did all I could to make her comfortable during her pregnancy. Two months before she was due to deliver she asked me if I could arrange for her mother to come to America to help her take care of the baby and also help around with the chores in the house, and since she’ll be a new mother she would need to learn a lot from an experienced mother. I agreed.
Through a “connection” man, I managed to get my in-law to America. The first few months were good, God gave me a beautiful baby girl. Everything was going on well until the third month; my in-law joined this Ghanaian church in America. Since then, my in-law changed completely. She was brought in to help my wife do chores my wife could not do around the house and also help take care of the baby. But she stopped doing all those chores, she stopped cooking. She stopped doing anything to help around the house, and every time I complained to my wife to talk to her mother, we’ll end up arguing all night
One day I got fed up with her attitude and confronted her. I warned her that if she does not change I was going to make sure she goes back to Ghana. I really gave her a piece of my mind. She wakes up in the morning and does nothing the whole day. She will sleep in the couch and be taking pictures and uploading them on Facebook for “fans” from her friends. And at night she attends this Ghanaian church or go out with her new found Ghanaian women. She leaves the house before 5pm, and comes home after 11pm. My in-law started crying because I was scolding her by telling her the bitter truth.
When my wife came to ask why her mother was crying, she told her daughter I had beaten her. My wife got angry and started insulting me, cursing my ancestors and I. I was shocked, I never touched her mother, she never gave me the chance to explain. Tempers were flaring so I decided to leave my house for a few hours to clear my head.
3 hours later when I came home the police were waiting for me. My wife and her mother called the cops on me. They put me in cuffs and arrested me on a domestic violence charge. I spent 24 hours in cells for the first time in my life. Later my wife and mother dropped the charges leveled against me and also got a restraining order that ordered me to stay 100 feet away from my wife and her mother. I was not allowed to come back to my own house, the house I was paying with my own money. My wife never allowed me to see my baby girl.
I had to move out from my own house if I did not want to go to jail. I was now “perching” with friends. My life turned upside down and I have not been able to recover from that. I’ve been depressed for months and it’s even affecting my work, I risk losing my work. I now can’t even send money to my mother like I used to. Whenever she ask for a little money for my sisters, I tell them the economy is bad but truth is, I now struggle to even feed myself.
I can’t come home to Ghana because, I feel like I have wasted my life here for nothing and I have no property in Ghana. I have no substantial money in my bank account because I spent all of it paying “connection” men to bring my wife and her mother to America. My advice to all the men living abroad, never leave abroad to Ghana to marry a Ghanaian woman, if you want to live long. There are many beautiful women whereever you are, just marry any of them if you want your peace of mind. It will even save you a lot of money.