Just a few years after my father moved to New York, my mother started a tradition. In Ghana where I grew up, it is custom for relatives who had traveled overseas to occasionally send back home pictures of themselves on the streets of foreign lands. One day, my mother brought home a photo album where she had planned to store all the pictures my father had sent her. That day marked the start of an activity that my mother continued for a long time. As my mother filled this album with photos of my father, she also included photos of us that she usually had a photographer take whenever we dressed up. She would always say after the photographer had handed her the printed photos: “one day, when my family is back together again, we will share these memories.” As expected, the album filled up quickly, pushing her to purchase another and yet another as time went on. Several years later when my father cleared the way for us to join him in New York, my mother made sure that her precious photo albums were the first items in her travel case. When we got here, one of the first things she did was show my father the “photo-story” she had been putting together all these years; chatting and laughter ensued quickly as my mother made sure my father heard all about the stories the pictures documented. Although, today, my mother no longer fills the albums with new pictures, she cherishes them as much as she did years ago.
– Daniel Obeng