Like Mother, Like Daughter
By Veronica Kim
With her mother as a role model, Brittany Wiafe is learning the strength required to be a woman of Ghanaian heritage and American future.
From a young age, she has enjoyed volunteering, helping out at church day care and vacation Bible school, but now is realizing why that is so important to her.
“My family hasn’t always been well off, but friends and family have helped us when we needed help, and I can’t take all that for granted. I want to give back,” said Wiafe. It is this desire to give back, instilled in her by her mother, that is now fostering Wiafe’s own interest in social justice.
Wiafe recalls that she and her mother shed tears upon seeing the video of a Texas police officer holding down an African-American teenager at a pool party this summer. “It doesn’t make sense to me that that much hatred can still exist,” she said.
Wiafe plans to fight this hatred one day, having recently discovered a love for public health. Combined with her passion for community service and writing, she hopes to spread the word about this “underlying tension of race issues in America.”
However, she will not stop there. “My parents are from Ghana, and I grew up in two cultures. I’m Americanized, but I know my Ghanaian culture has affected the way I view America,” she said.
Her ancestry has not only affected her present, but her future plans as well. One of her dream jobs is to open a pediatric office in Ghana.
For now, though, her mother’s selflessness toward her family and community continue to inspire Wiafe every day. “My mom’s just amazing. She has raised our whole entire family by herself,” Wiafe said. “She came to America from Ghana when she was 17… The strength and independence to do that, to become successful in another country, is incredible.”
On June 28, Wiafe’s mother turned 52. Despite the limits posed by her family’s monthly allotment of food stamps, she invited some friends to her home to eat dinner and to celebrate.
Wiafe knew that her family needed the leftovers and confronted her mother, who simply told her, “God will return it to us.”
It is a lesson that Wiafe is beginning to understand.