Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Interview Answers

Since part of the point of this blog is for me to get used to expressing myself publicly instead of holding stuff in all the time, I figured it might be a good idea to try the "interview game". Plus, it seems like a good way to find out more about all the people whose lives I am reading about. My questions come courtesy of Mushtaq Ali and his always interesting blog The Traceless Warrior. Honestly, it took some thought to come up with good answers. If anyone would like to be interviewed, let me know.

1. What makes you proudest about your country?

Probably how well we manage to get along. Most people seem to have this perception of Africa as a homogeneous place. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We are home to at least half a dozen major ethnic groups, each with a distinct language and culture. by the time you factor in the sub-groups there are somewhere on the order of 40-50 distinct nations, each of which used to have its own government and political structure and all of which probably predate the USA by at least a few centuries Consider the fact that some of these groups were more favoured by the British than others when we were a colony.

Now add in the fact that our population includes practitioners of several sects of Islam, christianity and traditional religions. To make things more interesting, consider political affiliations, which may or may not follow ethnic lines and factor in a history that includes three military coups. Now, we also have quite a few refugees from Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast as well as returning Black Americans, the Chinese, Koreans and Lebanese.

With all that going against us, not only have we managed to not kill each other, we've managed to actually get along and put together a stable country that is rapidly improving. I'm very proud of my people for the society we are trying to create. Its definitely not perfect, we have a long way to go. It is, however, built on an extremely impressive foundation.

2. What are people going to be saying about you twenty years from now?

Hopefully that I was willing to sacrifice everything for those I called family. Of all the things about myself I'm determined to get right, my dedication to my family, both real and adopted, is probably at the top pf that list. I owe a lot of who I've become to sacrifices made by my parents, my brother and sister and my extended family. If I want to be anything, its to be the kind of person who is also capable of making those sacrifices. I guess I'm very traditional in that sense.

Also, I'd like to be known as a person who was open to new ideas. My circle of friends has always been extremely diverse in terms of race, ideology and background. I prefer it that way. It enables me to learn more about the world always have my ideas of the world challenged. Ideally, I won't stop learning new things until the day I die.

3. You are down to your last ten dollars, but you have enough food to last until pay day, what do you spend it on?

Well, spring break is coming up which means I have a week of minimal work ahead of me. Since I already have a library card and a list of books to pick up, thats covered. I'd probably spend the money on a six-pack of spaten optimator. Not the most impressive choice, I know. However, one of those, a good book and probably some Coltrane in the background is an instant cure for study stress.

4. What is the strangest thing you have seen in America?

Now THAT is a hard one, especially considering the fact that I came straight from Ghana, which is a fairly conservative country, to Oberlin, one of the most liberal college campuses in the country. I would probably have to go with Safer Sex Night.

Its a historic party that Oberlin throws every year with sex as the theme. People cross dress or show up as close to naked as possible, usually while under the influence of one or more illegal substances. Contraceptives and sex toys are given away or raffled off and there is a huge amount of blatant sexual activity that takes place. I saw men making out with men, women making out with women, both sexes giving and receiving head, etc.

According to a friend of mine, the school's sexual information hotline gets more calls that night than they do any other night of the year. Now keep in mind that I was new to this country and came from a pretty conservative background. The things I saw there were, at the time, absolutely the strangest and most shocking things I had ever seen in my life. By my senior year, though, it was just another school tradition.

5. Who was your hero growing up?

Probably my father. In that sense I guess I'm like most boys. I never really spent that much time with him, none of us did. Compared to my brother and sister though, I probably spent the most time with him. In my eyes, he was wise, funny,well travelled(scholarship to grad school in Belgium, saw most of Europe and spent time in Israel) and incredibly well read. He always seemed to know something about everything. In retrospect I guess its not hard to see why I became so much like him.

Well, those are my answers

Here's how you can play the interview game:
1. Leave me a comment saying "interview me." The first five commenters will be the participants.
2. I will respond by asking you five questions.
3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. (Write your own questions or borrow some.)

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