Happy New Year folks!
Okay, I know we’re nearing the end of January (already!) but the reason for my lateness is that I’m on my way back to London after spending a month in Ghana. God/The Universe didn’t feel it was right that I hadn’t travelled abroad for the whole of 2013, so thankfully it was made possible for me, a couple days before Christmas. I’m actually sitting on a plane right now, as I draft this post on my trusty writing-pad. (Obviously for you to be reading this, it means that I’ve had to type it up after settling back at home).
Before I continue, I would just like to ask one favour of you all; if you ever hear me say that I am going to travel to Ghana again on an indirect flight, please shoot me so that I can’t go. Don’t kill me, just make it so that it is a physical hassle at that moment. Changing flights in Madrid has been bloody awful!
Anyway, one of the reasons I went to Ghana was to see if there may be any possible work opportunities there. Nothing was happening for me in London, so why not, eh? I wasn’t looking for any boring office job, because I could easily do that without having to pay for a plane ticket, I was looking for something in my fields – media and events. I haven’t come back with any offers, but due to knowing some good people, I have been able to make some contacts, so I’ll be chasing them up.
During the course of my stay, I realised something: A lot of us say that we want to move to our countries of origin, due to the British government doing their best to give us no other choice. But, in my opinion, some of us are looking at it through somewhat rose-tinted glasses. All we’re thinking about is the fact that the weather is beautiful all year round, there are beaches, you can have your own house built and not worry about mortgage payments and council tax, you can have house help, jobs can come with houses and cars – it all sounds cushy! What occurred to me is that we’d just be moving from one type of stress to another. My observations while in Accra were:
Customer service is horrendous. Something has changed in the three years since I was last there. The ‘no sense of urgency’ has reached new levels, and it winds me up. I have a few examples, but the main one is that there has been no landline or wifi/broadband service at my dad’s house for nearly nine months now, because Vodafone Ghana don’t give a shite. No matter how many times my dad goes to their headquarters to demand they come to install it, nothing is done.
You have to have quite a lot of money to start off with. If you want to rent a place to live, you have to pay either one or two years’ deposit upfront. Can you imagine? If you don’t drive, you’ll spend a helluva lot on taxis, and if you do drive, then you’ll be spending that money on petrol (The traffic in Accra is baaaaad, it’s like rush hour the whole day). There are a lot of little expenses you don’t initially think about, including the tips you have to pay just to get some things done.
I was told more than once that Ghanaians can be very stubborn, so the way that some of us think that we’d be coming from the Western World with ideas and strategies that we KNOW would help the running of whatever you think makes no sense – forgerrit. You’ll rather have to concede to their way of doing things. On one hand – why should they change? It’s their country. On the other hand – have you seen the journalism in some of the publications?? My poor, aching eyes – they need me, dammit!!
Please don’t in any way think that I’m trying to put you off visiting Ghana, because I’d never do that. You’ll have loads of fun there – guaranteed. This was my 10th visit, and I’m not the sort of idiot to go a place I dislike, 10 times. I just think some of us need to look at moving ‘back home’ through the eyes of the locals, and not those of tourists.
I have actually been excited about returning to London this time (*cue your side eyes), because I’ve missed what’s normal to me. I’m able to be self-sufficient, whereas in the past month I have had to wait and rely on others, daily, and I don’t like that. I’ve learned that although I intend to live in Accra for longer periods, my life isn’t at a place of self-sufficiency yet.
Do you get what I’m saying, or am I not looking at a bigger picture?