Making Cross-Cultural Connections
The TGIUK anthology Hear Our Stories (HOS), a collection of deeply personal experiences written by migrants living in the UK, highlights different aspects of the migrant journey. In this blog, we examine the aspect of cross-cultural connections through one author’s writing.
Many of us, when we immigrate to another country, we do so with the mindset to accept and adapt to the culture and lifestyle of our new nation. It is part of the great adventure, and whilst a little bit frightening, it is also thrilling and full of opportunity. However, the inherent connection to our country of origin remains a vital part of our identity and often held dear to our hearts.
At times that connection can be complex, but it usually enhances our experiences and the contributions we make to our new society. The TGIUK anthology, Hear Our Stories, which Victorina Press will publish in August 2023, is a compilation of beautifully written pieces showcasing that connection.
For Dr Susan Adoma Ozer, a published author and contributor to Hear Our Stories, her connection to Ghana, her country of origin, has been her guiding star in proactively supporting the Black Asian and Minority Ethnic community. As a consultant neurodevelopmental paediatrician specialising in ADHD and Autism, Susan has positively impacted many children’s and their families lives. Not stopping there, she has continued with her Ghanaian parents’ philosophy of proactively supporting others, acting as a role model in every sphere of her personal and professional life.
‘I want to walk the walk and be exemplary in my actions and words, particularly in breaking down the cultural barriers of my community and changing the mindset around what is expected of being a black woman and encouraging a healthier lifestyle‘.
With such a positive, supportive attitude, it is no surprise to learn that Susan is a founding member of the One2One mentoring network. The core function of this mentoring programme is to enable self-improvement and empowerment for women and men of African/African-Caribbean origin and people from other minority ethnic communities.
One of Susan’s passions is writing, and she was a published writer before entering the TGIUK Storytelling competition. She has written under the name of Ozer and her former name, Yarney, several fact/fiction books for children and young people with development issues. She heard about the TGIUK competition from a friend who encouraged her to enter. Recognising that it offered an opportunity to write something different from her usual writing style, she penned her winning entry, An Old Newspaper, recounting how migrants remain connected to family over the years and the miles. An old newspaper cutting kept by a dear uncle inspired her story-a tribute to her mother, connecting home and belonging and an inherent sense of being loved.
“The fact that he kept this as a memento of my mother, his sister, spoke to me of how important family is – whether they live next door to you or thousands of miles away across continents.”
One of the competition judges, Nazek Ramadan, founder of Migrant Voice, awarded her piece second prize, praising the lyricism of her words and recognising a personal connection to the story. Nazek also brought a newspaper from her country of origin–Lebanon–when she left her home in Beirut to come to the UK. The connection to our country of origin is within us; however, it is often strengthened through a physical reminder of what we left behind.
Winning the TGIUK prize has encouraged Susan to continue with her writing, experiment with different writing styles and explore the medium of poetry. We look forward to following her work. In the meantime, we can read some of her other published work on her social enterprise website School-Doctor.