How do you integrate in the US (my El dorado) as a young man, coming from Togo, one the smallest countries in Africa, with an idealistic view of the world. I guess it all depends on where you are here. We were in Virginia, in a hotel for about 2 weeks, and luckily, thanks to a good Samaritan (our lives in the US really changed because of her), we finally were able to get an apartment in Silver Spring, MD. My dad was so disenchanted with how our own people treated us that he decided to have little if not no involvement with the Togolese community.
Thus we really began a new life with not much of familiar people to talk with outside our family. I won’t say it was the best idea, but now that I think about it, I have to agree with my dad. It was needed, for us to assimilate properly into this new brave world El Dorado.
We spent hours watching TV, especially cartoons. Back then, cartoons were still innocent, compared to what I catch my kids watching some days…just sad. Also, music was a great way to learn the slang, especially when the East coast – West Coat war was in full swing, you either like Tupac or Notorious BIG. I spent hours just listening to their music. I definitely learned how to better ‘talk’ on the basketball court, an on the soccer field. Reading books also helped a lot. Back in Togo, books were rare treasures that you only get after swearing an oath to take care of it, and promptly return it. I was in heaven here going to the library, and just taking out books after books for free. They also had VHS movies available to borrow.
Ultimately, to better integrate in this El Dorado, I think, it is a good thing to take a step back from your roots, just to be able to truly be part of this society. I’m not saying to forget your roots, because, they define who you here. They will help you make sense of some situations, and they will make you a more balanced person in El Dorado. But you may not integrate in El Dorado if you are not willing to sometimes, take a step, and just accept that people act, think, react, and expect differently here.