Article #15 in the YCC Kids Club Ghana Student Life Stories Project
Nigerians Don’t Eat Human Flesh!!!
By Okeke Melody, Age 11
My Father came from Nigeria and my Mother came from Ghana, so for the first three years of my life, I lived with my Grandmom and relatives in Nigeria.
In Kindergarten One in Nigeria, the kids always spoke the Nigerian language and never spoke “Good English.” For example, they would say “Atten-SHI-on!” instead of “Attention!”
For this reason, my Mother hated sending me to school there, and so both my parents decided that I should come and attend school in Ghana to learn “Proper English.”
My first day at school in Ghana, I felt very curious and very shy. I was with my Father and Mother and I was only three years old. The teachers were asking me, “What is your name?” and the Proprietor said, “Welcome, Melody!”
At this point, the other kids stared at me and then began to laugh because I was acting so shy. The teacher yelled to them: “Come over here!”
When the kids came, the teacher sternly warned them: “Do NOT laugh when some stranger comes to campus. We must follow the rules and regulations, and we must be polite!”
But even after the teacher advised them all, one of the kids laughed again. Immediately the Proprietor took a stick and lashed her six at her buttocks. At that moment, I felt like the school would protect me well.
But the school could not protect me from everything. Ghanaians can sometimes be very mean to Nigerians (just like Nigerians can be very mean to Ghanaians), and I was often teased. To make matters worse, around that time, there were several popular Nigerian movies and TV shows that featured Nigerians eating human flesh.
One day I came into class and the teacher herself said: “Melody’s hometown is not good.”
“Madam, please,” I said, “Why do you say that?”
The teacher replied: “You have been eating people’s flesh as meat!”
I screamed: “It is a lie!!!” I told my whole true story to her. Nigerians are not cannibals!
But despite this discrimination, I remained a diligent student.
When I first moved to Ghana from Nigeria, I didn’t speak Ewe, only English. However, my Ewe is now so good that I teach it to Madam Lillie every afternoon as we walk home from YCC after-school classes! I work hard in my academics so that I can learn to read, write, and speak fluently and be a good student.
When I started school, my mom warned me to beware of “bad friends.” But not all people who say mean things are bad. They may just not understand the truth.
If you find yourself in the same situation as me and people are discriminating, you must have the courage to tell these people that what they say is incorrect. Then you must work your hardest in school and in life to prove that the prejudiced things they say are wrong!
Lillie’s Note: Please leave a comment for Melody, stating your geographical location!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!