wpid-300x236xmarriagejpgpagespeedicKYwKrjf5GP.jpgIt is the wish of the majority of Ghanaians in the diaspora to have their partners with them, partly to shake off loneliness during cold winter nights and partly to populate the earth of their adventurous kinds. Back in Ghana, the woman is supposed to keep the home, prepare food for the family and oversee the children. These responsibilities of the woman were followed to the letter without any complaints or problems.The situation becomes different and more complex when the woman joins the husband abroad. For most of the time it is the men who first travel abroad, leaving the women in Ghana with the hope of bringing them whenever they are able to regularize their stay. There are some women who have been waiting for their husbands for ten years. The problems that arise will be discussed later in the article.

 

The perception of many Ghanaian men about women as objects or property, has led many husbands to control their wives and to consider their opinions as mere thoughts of a woman. The place of the woman is confined to the kitchen and their sole responsibility is to make babies and keep the home. Such notions about women which, are carried further by Ghanaian men abroad, often give the latter a sense of supremacy over their female counterparts, assuming the right to verbally abuse or mishandle them in other ways. This attitude of certain men has created deep crises within families when the women gradually come to grips withwestern laws that protect the rights of women. It is assumed that if both parents are working full time, it is not the responsibility of only the woman to prepare food. Within the same rights, the man cannot compel the woman to have sex if she is tired or expresses unwillingness for it.

 

Janet Opoku was happily married when she was twenty seven. She won the US Green Card Lottery which allowed her to take her husband and two children, aged 2 and 4, with her to the United States to live and work there. They lived in New York a happy family. Her childhood dream has been fulfilled. She kept her spirits high because both her husband and children were within arm?s reach. Her youthful life had not been a happy one. Her parents died in an accident when she was fourteen. She was compelled to live with her cousin who constantly abused her. It was all joy when she grew up and got married. She said to herself that she would take her husband as her only hope in this life.

 

Barely two years of living in New York City, the husband decided to relocate to Virginia where his prospects of work were better. He told the wife he would come for them when he got settled. That was the last straw! In her innocence she trusted the husband in his sudden relocation idea. A week passed followed by months. She grappled with the husband’s decision and the thought of taking care of the kids without help was like hell let loose on her. As Janet waited for words from her husband to inform them to prepare to join him in Virginia, the telephone rang. When she picked it, the person on the other end told her that her husband has put anotherGhanaian woman in a family way. Her astonishment was irrepressible. Her world began to crumble as she became insane.

 

After several months of waiting without hearing from her husband, she packed her luggage and travelled with her children to Virginia to confirm her worst fears. To her shock and disbelief, she discovered on her arrival that her husband was living with another woman who had just delivered a baby boy. She was crushed beyond words and began to exhibit symptoms comparable to mental instability. A number of Ghanaians sympathized with her and gathered funds and bought tickets for her and the kids to go to Ghana to cool off. She returned to Ghana not only with her children but with her aspiration of living the American dream being dashed.

 

The rate of divorce among Ghanaians in particular, and Africans in general, in the diaspora has risen to astronomical proportions.

 

Henry was married to a beautiful lady and they moved from Bekwai to Kumasi where Henry had rented a two room apartment. The woman sold iced water in sealed plastic sachets, while Henry worked in an insurance company. They had been married for two years but the cry of a baby was never heard in their house. As fate would have it, he appliedfor and obtained a three months British visa, thanks to an invitation from a friend. He told the wife that he was going to London and promised to come for her as soon as things went well for him.

 

He overstayed his permit in London. He met a Lebanese man who offered him a well-paid job in his company that sorted out second hand clothes and sold them in bales. He was the supervisor. He was able to save enough money from his salary. He lived in London for many years but as much as he tried he was unable to regularize his stay. After seven years in London, he felt he had left his wife in Ghana for too long. He gathered courage and approached the director of the company to tell him about the expiration of his visa for so many years. The director admired his hard work and agreed to apply for a residence and work permit for him. Within record time Henry received his permit much to his amazement. Without hesitation he called his wife in Ghana and told her about the good news.

 

Henry later sent money to the wife to buy a double plot because he was determined to build his first house. With the help of an architect he got a plan for two identical houses and sent it to her wife. He began to send money to the wife to build the house. Within a year the twin houses were completed. He flew back home with an invitation letter for his wife and also to see the houses for the first time. When he got home, he demanded the documents on the houses. To his surprise the woman had registered the property in hername. What happened later is anybody?s guess. He lost the property to the woman who later sought for divorce.

 

In another development, Joshua, a mechanic in Accra travelled to the USA with her wife on a three months visa. Joshua was lucky to meet a friend who was a citizen of the US. He appealed to him to cover her wife with his papers which he readily did. After three years of permanent residence status, her mother ill-advised her to marry her only sibling, even though she was in America with her husband. When his brother finally arrived, it created commotion in the house when Joshua got to know that his wife had covered her brother with her papers. Hell broke loose. The violence and the noise attracted the neighbor. He called the police. When the police arrived, the woman branded Joshua as an intruder. The police took him away. Before they deported him, he narrated everything about the marriage between her wife and her brother. Both were immediately arrested. What happened to them is anybody?s guess.

 

Many serious and dramatic situations have gone on between husbands and wives abroad, very often leading toacrimonious divorces. Some men work long hours so they return home tired having little or no time to satisfy the woman in bed. After several weeks of abstention, the man now has time for sex. The woman approaches the act inanger because she has been denied for a long time. This attitude completely takes away her feelings and boredom, tension and sadness begin to pile up in her heart. To solve her sexual problems, she seeks solace in the beds of other men, thus increasing her risk of sexually transmitted infections like HIV. In some cases the woman gets pregnant and gives it to her husband without his knowledge.

 

Some Ghanaian men of little education exploit the advantage of having lived abroad for so many years and travel to Ghana and get married to women who are more educated than them, very often university students. These women join their husbands abroad and discover later that the men are not the type of men they want. What happens is that these men have first class suits and other costumes which they only use when they travel to Ghana mainly to impress others. While in the diaspora they put on one jean trousers for a whole week!

 

Ghanaian husbands and wives abroad are all guilty of cheating. These are episodes that have truly happened. I could have cited more but for lack of space. Who is really cheating the other? Dear reader, perhaps your opinion is different from mine. Let us know what you think.

 

Written by Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads
Email: [email protected]

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