ALESIA NICOLE MILES, UNIVERSITY OF GHANA
I want to say that I've never met a person, visited a place, or encountered a circumstance that made me feel the way you've made me feel. You stripped me of everything I knew and told me, "Start over." I thought to myself, "Start over? I'm twenty-one years young where exactly do you want me to start over... birth??" You ignored my angst and overwhelming sarcasm and simply replied, "Start over." In my mind, I thought you hated me during the first few months I spent with you. I cried (so, so much); I was angry; I was so uncomfortable with what you were doing to my body; and even the idea of you frightened me; but, more than anything, I was mostly afraid of you and who you would turn me into. I was terrified that I'd look in the mirror one day and not know who was staring back at me.
And once again - as if I can't seem to get enough of my own mistakes - I was completely wrong. You didn't hate me and you surely didn't want the worst for me; you revealed to me that you loved me more than words would allow either of us to express.
It showed especially in the way you kept me warm; when you carefully helped mold my body with your best dishes; you insisted that the toxins be removed from my life in every aspect physically, emotionally, and spiritually; you showed me men and women who looked like me in high positions; the sounds of your waves comforted me when I didn't think I could see the finish line; your greenest hills, brown paths, and chocolate-covered people showed me that life exists far beyond my own understanding; and most of all, you were accepting of me just as I was, never intentionally trying to change me but instead showing me life therefore allowing me to make the choice to change myself.
I looked in the mirror during our last moments together and I was surprised that she looked more familiar than I ever thought she would.
And for you...
I will forever be grateful.
I'm longing for the day we get to meet again, but until then, I will cherish you in my heart until death takes me away from you.