Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Married to Africa: A Love Story
Married to Africa: A Love Story, by G. Pasqual Zachery, is one of the most facinating stories I have ever read. It is a true love story because only love can explain how these two people with opposite personalities and major cultural differences could establish a relationship and marry.
Of course the skeptic in me says, it is all about the green card. But that is dimishing the work and effort Zachary and his Ibo wife, Chizo, have put into this relationship. Where Chizo is bold and brash, Zachary is mild-mannered and introspective. He is a journalist and foreign correspondent for major media institutions like The Wall Street Journal. He met Chizo in Ghana where she was working at the Accra zoo as a keeper and surrogate mother for an orphaned chimp named Jimmy.
Their story is a wild romp through the highs and lows of courtship African style and marriage American style. While they are in Africa, Chizo calls the shots about where they go and what they do. She makes it clear that she loves him thoroughly, but he has to take her as she is. That means he has to understand her fear of fetishes and witchcraft and her daily talks with God. While Zachary is a non-practicing Jew, he begins to find his own sense of the divine.
Once they are in America and married Chizo continues to test his resolve and dedication by proclaiming herself to be independent and knowledgable about almost everything. Zachary is on a roller-coaster ride with Chizo. There are some really hilarious moments in their story, like the time Chizo forgets the security code to the alarm system and the police come to investigate. Chizo answers the door with a knife in her hand. The police are dumbfounded and vexed. She tells Zachary she was cutting yams when they arrived.
Zachary has a love for AFrican culture and African people. He appears extremely naive in his approach to courting and marrying Chizo. He has endured situations most men would run away from. But always he remembers his love for Chizo and she for him. There are some really poignant moments in the book and at the end you are rooting for this unlikely pair. Chizo’s daughter has come to live with them and Zachary has two children of his own. How this blended family will fare, is another book.