Life is a learning process – it leads you through series of ups and downs that, unfortunately, one is unable to foresee. I possess a diversity of experiences, so I owe a debt of gratitude to the people especially my family, friends and the community has contributed to my intellect of who I am and my opinion of the world.
My life changing experience is an interesting story to the average teenage situation. This gave me a true outlook on people and their behaviour. My identity had been shaped by influences of nationality, race, ethnic group, physical appearance, culture, talents, interests, and language
Culture is defined as the behaviours of a particular group of people that are commonly considered to be the tradition which are conveyed from generation to generation. Identity can be defined as a set of personal or behavioural characteristics by which an individual can be associated with a certain group or the state of an individual having some specific qualities which identify him with a particular group of people or things. The combination of these two nouns (culture and identity) gives rise to cultural identity which refers to the sense of belongingness to a particular group or culture. I strongly believe that although some cannot be related directly, all these qualities will influence my graduate studies in MA Program at the KAIPTC.
This journey begun in a community called Hohoe in the Volta Region where I had both my Basic and Senior Secondary education. I found myself in that community because my father was Medical Practitioner specialized in Obstetrics and Gynecologist at the Hohoe Government Hospital. After my Secondary Education, I have a long-held interest in becoming a Computer Engineer. Somewhere along the line, i changed my mind by joining the Police.
In 2005, I went through the rudiment of the Police training and had my first posting to the Fingerprint Section at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) at the Police Headquarters where i was selected to go for further training at the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the United States secret Service at the Scotland Yard for a period of one year. Not until I was offered the scholarship to continue my studies at the FBI, I have always been the same. And I will be the first to admit this: it was very scary training. I was unable to predict what was ahead of me since I was about 1,686 miles away from home, where I had built every memory of my life. When making the choice to upgrade myself, I found that I was repeatedly asking myself the same question: Why would I want to leave something so great? That is my parents, and the friends I socialize with in my community? For me, the chance of finding something greater, in a place that I had never experienced before, was the motivation I needed to just go for it no matter the occurrence. The answer to my question is the sole reason I chose to take chance ten years ago, and why I am convinced moving away from my hometown and country to study outside was the best decision I could ever made. Moving from Ghana to Scotland Yard, little did I know that it was one of the greatest decision i have ever made and that has been the biggest turning point in my life.
Due to my cultural identity, I have individually and collectively experienced many challenges at the Scotland Yard. One challenge is that of persistent identities in the form of racial perceptions. This is because many people keep on asking me about my race because my bodily appearance and complexion does not suggest I am of a Ghanaian origin and my mates feel superior than those of us from Africa. They tend to perceive us as inferior, wrong in all aspects and strange.
Another challenge I faced as a result of my cultural identity is prejudice. My fellow college mates who appeared to have come from wealthy backgrounds tend to show intolerant and unfairly biased attitude towards me and other people of my status. I missed my family, friends and the over familiar warmth of my Community. I was used to the home-made food prepared by my mother especially fufu and lightsoup on weekends. One thing that came to mind was how i was going to live on my own, meaning, be responsible for every decision I made and be accountable for my financial crisis if I overspent. The fact that I was able to independently perform the task that was assigned me has heightened my confidence.
I had to adjust to live the new style, culture and social life. Everything was strange to me. I neither spoke French, Spanish or Latin languages. It was a problem. I realized I had to put more efforts and embellish my sentences. I lived in mortal fear of loosing friends I made or even getting confused with documents because I do not speak French. I was ridiculously shy and hate having to repeat myself or worst, asking people to repeat themselves. I struggle with French accent and that got my share of strange looks from colleagues or choice of words that may not mean exactly what I wanted to say or are not commonly heard.
Despite the majority of people I met, being amazingly nice, I also dealt with my share of racists and bigots. People made fun of my race, or made me feel I did not belong because of my ethnicity. But, through all the ups and downs of immigrant life and adjusting to life abroad, somehow I managed to fall in love with USA. At some point, I realized that “fitting in” was not up to anyone else’s but me. If I wanted my colleagues to embrace me, I was going to have to embrace it first.
I met some incredible people both Citizen and other international students who I am proud to call my friends today. I saw things from different perspectives. These friends taught me about how strong we all are, but in different ways. At the end of the programme, formed a Working Group comprising colleagues of diverse backgrounds from Ghana, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Australia, United Kingdom, Geneva and South Africa. I have since been an active member that, use modern techniques of investigations and profer solutions to emerging economic crimes such as Money laundering, cyberfraud and Nacrotic cases in a couple of countries. I find it overwhelming with the skills and confidence I have developed.
Moving forward, i went back to the University where i graduated with BSc. Computer Science and LL.B. Though, I am still learning, i now have a much more confidence than I used to be because my employers consult me on issues though i am a junior rank.
The study of Law at the Faculty level had a significant impact in my life that has made me a much more empathetic person. But most importantly, it has taught me that the respect for diversity, equality and fairness be it one’s identity in society, age, religious beliefs, culture, gender or race should always be my hall mark. According to Dalai Lama ,’Conflicts arise when we dwell on secondary differences between us; differences of nationality, faith, whether we are rich or poor, educated or uneducated. What’s more helpful to remember is that we are all human beings and from that point of view, we are all the same.” Having lived in a couple of different countries in the past, I cannot help but say that respect for human rights is universal. When we come out with new friends of diverse professional backgrounds, we develop a much richer understanding of the world.
With regards to experiences that had a positive influence on me was when I led teams on the field to conduct investigations in five Regions concurrently because of my technical know-how. Honestly, I didn’t know where to start. It was hard to pinpoint an exact moment where I began to question my values and overall, my perspective on certain aspects of issues I was confronted with. I faced lots of opposition from my colleagues because of stereotype (exaggerated generalization of being a female leader).