Oh wow so it’s been 500 days since I first moved to Ghana. In that time I’ve been in two jobs, one relationship, 3 regions… and written all about it here in this blog. It’s been a journey. I have wanted to pack up and leave a number of times. In a situation like this, you miss your friends a lot. Dumsor (electricity loadshedding) makes you miss the reliability of the West. The fact that water has to be bought in to fill storage tanks at home and that you need to buy cooking gas in cylinders for which the price always seemed to be going up all might lead you straying onto the British Airways website.
Taxis are a hustle at first. They can mostly tell that you are foreign and charge you accordingly, until you learn some key phrases and grunts that disguise your foreignness.
Don’t make the mistake (if you are coming over from the west) of just getting a job that pays on average a bit better than if a local was in the job. You are being hustled. I made that mistake and so I will be deadly honest with that advice. Don’t be afraid of being a diva, even though I know you want to be humble. If this is a “homecoming” as it was for me, you should see yourself as an obroni because they take expat money and you yourself are also an expat!
What else can I say about the first 500 days in Ghana? In that time I have weaned myself off of the malaria tablets, I did that after about a year to be honest. In your first year you should have found a trustworthy clinic so no worries about getting malaria because you’ll obviously receive top notch treatment and there ain’t no way I’m paying the cost of my tablets, here in Ghana, they’re just too expensive.
It’s a real achievement to have lasted 500 days and I hope to last another 500 more. I was saying to Lorissa, another returnee who blogs at The Only Way Is Ghana that reaching this milestone does take away any personal doubt that I could survive this permanent move. Obviously my parents, based in London, still believe that they are in the field of greener grass. I still get texts and phone calls from my dad, advising me to come home to London but I don’t reckon these 500 days have truly shown what I came here to do, there is still more to do. Ghanaians are still very baffled by my decision and the people in my area still ask me when I’m going back and why did I choose to stay, but we’ve gone over this, despite bad governance and a spiralling cedi, Ghana still holds many more opportunities to make some sort of impact, than the UK.