A Ghanaian-Ukranian friend of mine who came from Ghana to attend MIT,
one of our “sibling schools”, is in the process of directing a “coming
of age documentary about young Africans on a quest for knowledge at an
elite American university”. It chronicles the life of five students from
Tanzania, Zambia, Nigeria, Rwanda and Zimbabwe and aims to “uncover how
the relationships [they] have with their home countries evolve and how
their time at MIT influences their dreams to make an impact on the
Although I attended high school in the United States, I entered college classified as an international student. That meant I dealt with I-20s and visas and was at the special international student orientation scheduled ahead of general orientation but unlike the others I had the luxury of my family driving me up to the college dorm-steps and shopping for necessities and decor for my room. It also meant that “home” was not too far away and phone calls did not cost an arm and a leg nor did they have to be scheduled for three in the morning. Mind you, I’m talking about the late 1990s and at Wellesley College, AT&T supplied the phone service and even for me with my out-of-state calls the bill was ridiculous. Thank goodness for phone cards then and thank goodness now for cell phones, Skype, Facebook and Twitter.
But my fellow international students of yester-year, those whose parents and family waved goodbye to them at the airport on a different continent, they struggled. Struggled to adapt to a new country, a process in which I had three years on them but was still struggling too. Coming of age and finding one’s place in this world is not easy in the first place. Coming of age without your family, in a foreign country with different social norms, culture, and sometimes language must be very demanding…especially when you are no longer at the top of your class now that you have joined the cream of the crop at an elite university. For me, I found more of my identity as a Ghanaian and as an African in college, but for those who had come directly from home, I fear some of them found themselves more estranged from home despite having lived nowhere else prior to coming here for college. I recall a discussion I had in my second year of college with an Ethiopian year-mate and a Ghanaian senior neither of whom felt any sense of responsibility to their home countries and they were so adamant about it. I have always wondered why for we had so many Wellesley-MIT-Harvard F.F.T.s (food for thought) round-table discussions on various topics alluding to what we were going to do in return for our countries when we went back home.
I’m so proud of Arthur Musah, the director of “One Day I Too Go Fly”, in this initiative of documenting an African experience. It’s a true labour of love as he is still working as an engineer as well as directing this documentary. I also appreciate the students who have decided to share intimate details of their life. It’s such an exciting time to be a young African, that’s true.
I want to see this film completed and for that reason I am contributing to their Kickstarter fundraiser to continue to fund the filming. I’m hoping that you too would support this project.