So I did it! I packed up, said farewells and made that trip back to the motherland! This time Ghana. Now I know some of you may be thinking well didn’t you do that before? Like, what did you call your experience in South Africa? Honestly, as a black American woman, South Africa was nice but West Africa has a different feel. I feel more connected to this space, I see the commonalities in this space far more than South Africa. So here it goes…Week1/2 reflection!
Akwaaba! I have heard this more than a few times since I arrived but never before explained to such depth as my neighbor Mr. Baidoo explained. He says it has much deeper meaning besides welcome. He says it’s more of you have returned, now you are home, now you can root, you are welcomed because we are one. So I love that version and I’m sticking to it! And his sentiment is fairly common here. It had come to my attention that Ghanaians are very comfortable with foreigners. They immediately switch up to English for you once they realize you don’t understand, they are very helpful, and honestly, don’t pay you much mind in regards to your differences. However, they will hike the price up. I found myself a little frustrated with this but then again, who can knock the hustle. A sister friend of mine gave me a quick lesson in Twi before I headed out one day and that has increased my negotiating skills! Well, at least it has helped me get a correct price in a taxi and not the foreigner price. By the time they realize I don’t speak Twi fully they have already quoted a price! Yay, one tally for the American girl!
As some of you know, unlike my Peace Corps experience I came to Ghana to an empty home. Most places here come completely bare. No appliances, no light fixtures, fans, etc. So I had to hit the ground running! I have spent my time thus far just purchasing the things I need for my bedroom and kitchen. I’m holding off on the hall(living room) until a later date. Now, this all should seem easy and quick if you have the cash but oh no my dear it is not. THE RAIN halted a lot of my progress the first few days. It’s currently rainy season, which basically means downpours when and where ever. I must admit it does have a cleansing feeling to it. It definitely helps you sleep like a baby. Well, unless it’s raining as hard as it did my second night and I thought someone was trying to break in only to find the rain! Anyway… People don’t move with purpose in the rain here. It’s almost like the old folks in the south when it rains and they make you sit down. Well, it’s similar to that. People will wait until the rain slows down before they move and because of that many of my deliveries were delayed. In addition to that people don’t just deliver to you because you ordered, they wait until they get a few orders in the same area and then they come. So it’s best you live in a populated area so you can quickly get delivery. And when I say deliver I mean for furniture, water, etc.( yes I have to have my water for my home delivered. Don’t worry I will do a whole vlog post on water supply later).
I currently don’t have a car here in Accra and honestly speaking don’t really want one for now because I would be terrified to drive here. The rules of the road are…non-existent. But there is plenty of means to get around here. Tro Tro vans, taxi, Uber, private car, friends, neighbors! You will get where you need to go, and I have gotten around easily but for a price! Now the cool thing is that the taxi’s will do anything and go anywhere for the right price. I had my bed frame delivered by taxi. They broke it down, strapped it up and put it back together at my home. Amazing! I have found it funny that whenever I buy something that needs assembling, wherever I buy the people are ready and willing to travel to me and do just that. No more that 30 cedis. Now I will say I did have to wait for lights out(this is when the power shuts off for no reason at all,again another seperate post) to end before they installed my fan, but the response time was immediate.
A few ladies from Peace Corps South Africa were here as well so that definitely made me feel a little at ease. We were able to hang out and club over the weekend and I got to see a different side of Ghana. Previously on my other trips, I came and hung out with Ghanaians strickly. Not much interaction with other repats or expats. This time I have met both and I see the benefit of both circles.
All and all it’s been good! Still transitioning, finally started work this week and really excited about all that is unfolding. Until next time yall!