The only traces of Guinea Bissau from my step dad was in the food he cooked at the house and the Guinean parties we would attend once or twice a month with his other Bissau-Guinean friends who lived in the Bay Area. And other then the fact that they were speaking Creole and not English it didn’t seem so ‘foreign’.
But neither my dad nor step-dad spoke explicitly about growing up in Bissau. In both cases they were taken away from their parents at a very young age, moved and lived in Europe for many years until they finally came to the US.
I honestly think I learned the most about Guinea Bissau and my dad and step-dads childhood from my mom and my step mom! As I got older my mom began to share some of the (very sad) stories about my dad and step-dads youth. Whenever my siblings and I were frustrated with a decision my dad made, my step mom always tried to explain my dad’s point of view based on his childhood and cultural upbringing.
But when I would share this with people it sounded to strange to be true. People would look at me as if I was just pulling things out of a movie. Even I told his story with a hinge of disbelief.
Essentially I knew maybe 5-10% of the story before I decide to come to Bissau. Learning what it meant to be Bissau-Guinean was kind of in the back of my mind, but I wasn’t necessarily looking for answers. I had gotten accustomed to it.
I was fine to leave it at that.
Come back tomorrow for the conclusion on Aliesha's intro. Then be sure to check back often as Aliesha shares stories about her very interesting new life in Guinea Bissau.