Caribbean Thoughts

by Carol Mitchell

Our Gift

This is a difficult thing for me to say out loud for various reasons, but it is true. We West Indians are lucky to live on the western side of the Atlantic ocean.

I don’t intend to offend. Our life in Accra, Ghana is comfortable. We have the conveniences of modern living with some inconveniences thrown in, but life is imperfect everywhere. Accra is not a true reflection of Ghana. It is a relatively small section of a vast country where education levels and sanitation conditions vary significantly and many people do not have their basic needs met.

In my quest to get to know the “real” Ghana, I have recently learnt the details of certain customs that are practised in some parts of the country and by some tribes. To my Western mind many are torturous and inhumane. In many areas people battle with and succumb to diseases that we have overcome years ago in the Caribbean. The size of the country and the disparity in the distribution of wealth has meant that some have prospered but many have been left behind.

We received a gift from our forefathers, although I know they would not have recognised it as such. This gift was bought with their blood, their spirits and their lives, but there it is, we have it. We were given a chance to be something different and to create a new world for ourselves; to impact a new corner of the earth while our brothers continued to work on theirs.

What are we making of this gift? What do our forefathers think when they look at where our Caribbean countries have gone? Add your comments below and let me know.


  Anouska wrote @

Hi Carol,

I’ve been reading your Ghana posts with much interest.

I think modern day West Indian and African societies share a foundation built by outside influences. Both have been tremendously impacted by it. Neither would have been what they are today, if it had not been for their history. A history, which they share. The West Indian ‘gift’ has come to Africa’s loss.

Who knows where Africa would have been today, if 400 years ago millions of its inventors, politicians, intellectuals and counselors had not been slapped into chains and shipped overseas?

Who knows where the West Indies would have been today, if over the course of the past 400 years millions of bright and resilient Africans had not arrived in our region?

History cannot be undone. But if it could, I would not mind exploring the ancient civilizations of Africa and the West Indies, in the time before human greed annihilated them.

  Carol Mitchell wrote @

Thanks for reading Anouska. I understand exactly what you mean and I actually started once exploring the idea of where Africa could have been if so much human capital had not been stolen. I came to the conclusion that it is a question that cannot really be answered as there are too many variables to consider.

  Joan wrote @

Hi Carol,
I discovered your blog today and have enjoyed reading about your thoughts and experiences. The above blog did fill me with sadness, while at the same time I am thankful for your candidness. I too am from a caribbean island, from African ancestors, but am now living in Europe. I am in the process of writing a book to help heal ourselves (descendants from enslaved african people) from mental slavery, as I am convinced that many of us are still subconsciously carrying this great weight around that has to do with our ancestors plight. I do not consider myself lucky to have been born far away from Africa, but then of course I have not witnessed the customs you have. It is indeed terrible that the African people and the continent have been exploited and devastated in such a way that we’ll never know what we could have become, if we had not been interfered with.
Please keep on writing.

  Carol Mitchell wrote @

Thanks so much for reading and for writing, Joan. This is a difficult and sensitive topic on which there are a number of valid views. Please come back and let me know when your book is published, it sounds like it could be very interesting and useful.

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