I don’t know if you know this but you are amazing; from your mind to your body to your spirit.

Do you know how proud you should be because of who you are and what you have achieved?

Some of our parents travelled far in hope of a better future. Some of our parents left their homes when they were children pinned with the hopes of their family members who they left behind to forge a better life. Some of our parents left their countries with degrees, skills and qualifications but had to work cleaning and security jobs on another continent because their qualifications were not recognised on foreign soil. The same foreign soils which colonised their native lands and introduced Western forms of education to their home countries – how ironic. Limited resources, unfamiliar systems, loneliness are just a few things our young parents had to deal with starting out in the Western world.

In spite of all this, some of our parents were able to build wealth, buy properties, gain qualifications (once again) own successful businesses, have amazing careers, put their kids through school, feed and clothed their whole family (including extended family back from their birthplace), which was no easy feat.

Our parents had to navigate foreign lands with people calling them niggers and blackies. Conversations with their friends of what areas to avoid to not get their heads kicked in by fellow human beings who do not like their colour of their skin were the norm. A day without police harassment was a blessing. Phone calls to their parents and friends back home to let them know how great the Western world is – I wonder if our Grandparents knew their children were lying and that they wished to go back home because of how they were treated. Being constantly reminded you don’t belong here. Living in cramp and unsafe housing. Chances of promotion at their jobs were limited due to ignorance of human beings. I am sure I have missed out a million more struggles that our parents may have experienced.

You know you are amazing, right? You know through all of what your parents experienced they raised a beautiful and talented child, right?

I remember my mum used to say to say to me you have to work extremely hard – getting 99 answers correct out of 100, wasn’t enough; she would say, ‘why didn’t you get 110?’. As a kid, I never understood why but I get it now. Society does not your favour you, she was building me to be resilient. ‘Well done’ was rarely heard in my household; it was substituted for ‘Why didn’t you do better?’. I used to think, what’s wrong with you, why can’t you just be proud of me? I was unaware at the time that they were only products of their environments and they knew working hard might just not be enough to succeed. Our parents wanted us to do the impossible, achieve the unthinkable because they knew that is what it was going to take to pursuit “a normal” life; have successful careers and businesses; a life that brings love, joy and happiness. Our parents were building us to overcome any unfair/unjust challenge they knew life has in store for us.

Some of us grew up in environments which were and still are not safe. Some of us didn’t make it through the harsh terrains, some of us hit the roads, some of us went to jail, some of us resulted to alcohol and drugs, some of us just gave up, some of us pushed through because deep down our purpose in life was not about to be killed because of society’s failure to address basic human needs.

Do you know how amazing you are to stand where you are? Your life could have been so different, who knows where would you be if you grew up in a different area with a different set of circumstances but what we do know now is, you have made it thus far.

I don’t know if you know this but you are amazing; from your mind to your body to your spirit.

Photographer & Writer – @Kofi Dwaah