A young womans diary of making that transition from the western world to the west of Africa.
Hi I’m Cheryl, I’m 25 and I’m a Fanti. I’m coming to Ghana for a few months to prepare for my forthcoming wedding. Being here for a few months on my own is a first in both instances. I’ve usually only ever come with family for a month at a time. I’m getting to experience Ghana in a new way.
What I love about here is that there’s so much to do! You can never get bored. You can relax all day under the sun and still feel exhausted or you can go explore the attractions. One thing you are certain of is the atmosphere buzzing with hustle and bustle. The streets filled with sellers carrying purchase items. People are hustling you to buy their clock or their PK gum just so they have enough to live on. We can’t forget that there is poverty here, and it’s a reality for many people.
Settling in was tough. Trying to integrate into the society proved a lot more difficult than I had imagined. People looked at me up and down in my Primark clothes as if I was wearing Fendi or Gucci. As soon as I spoke, my South London accent fell onto their ears like a foghorn. They just looked at me and blanked me. Ghanaians can be ill-mannered with a poor level of understanding.
As I stood taking pictures of the beautiful savannah plains, they would watch me as if to say, “Why am I taking pictures of Ghana/Africa?” either that or they were thinking how much if they could reach the camera it would go for.
I think sometimes that some of the bad manners are due to insecurities.
I’ve found out many truths since being here. Like, culture in Ghana is sometimes misplaced. Tradition and morals are somewhere in the 1500’s and yet the American/Western influence here is undeniable.Women are expected to behave and look a certain way. Most are shunning these prehistoric attitudes in favour of the more liberal Westernised view. They would rather wear jeans and a halter neck top instead of the traditional African bubu and gele. The Accra Mall at Tetteh Quashie is super popular with tourists and locals alike frequenting the spot which hosts Shoprite and Rhapsody’s amongst others. Here you will find a cross section of what modern Ghanaian society really looks like.
Professionally, I am an International Politics graduate with a major in War and Peace studies. I wanted to see what Ghana has contributed in terms of peace in Africa. I went to the refugee camp for Liberians, Buduburam just past Kasoa about 1 hour outside Accra. I travelled via trotro which was my first experience (strangely enough, I quite like it). The conditions at the camp were bad though. All that they wanted was a better future for themselves. I’m hoping to continue working more with them in collaboration with the United Nations.
Michael Essien held a football match, “Peace in Africa” Africa Vs the World that I went to watch at Ohene Djan Stadium, Accra (nr Liberation Square).
For about a fiver a ticket, the place was packed with fans and spectators people even getting tasered by the police. Other than that it was a good day, and a great atmosphere, with the crowds upbeat attitude. Footballers included Didier Drogba, Ashley Cole, Freddie Ljungberg and Paolo Maldini.
I’ve never been to a live football match before and being as it was my first experience of live premier league action it was great.I loved seeing Asamoah Gyan aka Babyjet do his thing at half time with Castro. Also, Hi-life legend Kwabena Kwabena sang great. Proper authentic old school Hi-life. All was going great until the heavens decided to open up and completely massacre the stadium. We were drenched. People were sprinting to the nearest shelter but my fiancé and I stayed at our seats. I had to stand on the seat because the rains were about 6 inches deep and ruining my challewatey. The pitch was also desecrated. They would kick the ball and it would land about 1cm infront of them. You could tell that they were really trying their hardest and so we kept on supporting. I kept blowing that horn! All in the name of Peace.
It’s a shame Africa lost by 4 goals to 2. We had to drive back completely soaking wet and cold not to mention 2 goals down. That was quite demoralizing..
It’s great when Ghanaian’s come together. You can really see the magic we create together. It’s one that makes you turn around and let someone know that “Me Firi Ghana”.
We have come really far as a nation and should be proud of our achievements and should continue to strive to bigger and better heights.
How can we as individuals be proactive to help create positive change in Ghana?
Xx Cheryl xX
To find out what happens next in Cheryl’s story please keep on logging on to www.mefirighana.com/blog and be a part of making Ghana relevant.