Akwaaba Accra – Welcome to Accra
I had intended to write a post after my first week in Ghana and it then evolved to “my first month in Ghana” but I finally completed writing this post six weeks after having arrived here. The weeks have just flown by and I have been procrastinating at getting back to blogging even though there is so much I want to share.
Last week, I attended a blogging workshop at the “Pa Gya!: A Literary Festival in Accra” which was organised by the Writers Project of Ghana. The festivals’ aim was to ignite passion for the literary arts. In addition to various workshops that were held, there were book launches and guest appearances by some prominent authors from across Africa. As I had hoped for, the workshop motivated me to write this post and to be more regular with my blog posts.
We made the decision to move to Accra (the capital of Ghana), in the early part of this year after my husband accepted a role to be based here. He has always wanted to work elsewhere in Africa and I welcomed the adventure.
As one my best friends recently told me: “You meant to roam” and after the time I spent in Europe I can’t agree more. That first experience of living abroad, traveling extensively and being removed from my comfort zone, made me want to live in a another country. I see this move as bringing on a whole different dimension to being challenged and part of a bigger learning experience.
This relocation to Ghana, is the opportunity to see and of course taste more of AFRICA. As Africans, we are always travelling around the world though tend to neglect the beautiful and culturally rich continent we are from. I am ashamed to say that despite the more than 30 different countries I have travelled to, my Africa travels consist of only Nairobi and some work travels to Botswana and Lesotho.
For those with limited knowledge of geography, Ghana is situated in West Africa and it’s neigbouring countries are: Ivory Coast (west), Togo (east) and Burkina Faso (north). The south of the country which is where Accra is situated is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. Being close to the equator, gives Ghana a typical tropical climate. It is always hot with average temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius. In addition, the humidity is insane with it generally being upwards of 80% making me grateful for the Brazlian hair straightening treatment I did prior to moving here! This climate also makes air conditioners a necessity.
Accra is chaotically busy but its residents are friendly, welcoming and helpful. The city is growing and there are numerous residential and commercial developments. Oh, and most importantly there some excellent restaurants with delicious food (I will be blogging about these).
Settling into living here has been easier than expected (Ghana is often referred to as “Africa for beginners”), but it does require one to have a lot of patience as most things move rather slowly (other than my fibre installation). In Accra you can get pretty much anything you want – you just need to ask and there are people who will recommend. The expat Facebook pages are excellent sources of information when seeking recommendations from where to get fish, to finding a hairdresser. I should add a disclaimer that the cost of living is extremely high – and I have lived in Paris which many consider one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Driving in Accra, requires some special driving skills and we have yet to buy a car, but we use Uber which works perfectly fine (and for my South African readers, – Accra is extremely safe!). Traffic is nightmarish so I quite enjoy the ease of being driven around. Even though I am from South Africa where at some traffic lights you may find a vendor selling a single product, here you can lliterally do your shopping through your car window while waiting in traffic. There are numerous people walking around selling absolutely everything from food, shoes, gardening tools, laundry washing powder and so much more.
I would have to say that the challenges have been easily overcome and I have had only one really frustrating TIA (This Is Africa) or TIG (This is Ghana) day. I have found this move less emotional then when we moved to Paris and perhaps it’s that I have become very adaptable over the past 18 months making this relocation easier. I’d have to say that I have become a pro at packing and unpacking boxes 🙂
There is so much more to share on the admin involved in moving to and settling in Accra, as well as my eating and other experiences thus far, which I will keep for the posts to follow. For more regular updates, follow me on instagram.
(If you moving to Accra and have any questions please do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org).