Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Tips on moving to Ghana, s'il vous plaît!

Ooooh, temperatures are rising, it's getting so exciting!
No, for once I am not talking about the election, neither the US nor the Gh one. Although, let's not forget that in exactly two weeks time, Obama will make history, or Americans will come out as the most dumb assed 'gosh-darn mavericks' (to use Palin's own favourite words) the world has ever seen.

No, this time I am talking about that big, life changing decision that a person close to me has had to make. Getting married, your thinking, or having a baby or buying a house? No, moving to Ghana of course! My fellow Ghanaian Swedish friend has after years of sensible consideration and contemplation made the decision and will be joining me in this beautiful country in just a few months time.

So now, as the veteran 'diasporan re-locator' I am the one advising on what to think of and more importantly, what to bring for the big move. We had a long discussion yesterday evening and will probably continue in the week as well, so I'm reaching out to all of you out there to contribute with any tips on what to bring (whether it be food, toiletries, furniture or electronics) or think of before coming here. Since I have been here as long as three (!) years, my memory of what I longed for and missed when I arrived, is not the freshest.

So do come with suggestions, after all I want to do everything to make sure any relocator to Ghana enjoys it and stays!


posekyere said...

Hi Maya,

Good to see Ghanaians domiciled abroad are coming home. This is how the much-needed renaissance of Ghana will start. The confluence of cultures, ideas, skills and work ethics is the trigger for rapid advancement.
As far as your friend is concerned, she/he is advised to bring as many swedish memorials as is possible. The Ghanaian environment can be overwhelming so there is a need to counterbalance that with an arrangement at home that is quintessentially swedish. i.e; swedish bedspreads,curtains,furniture,paintings,books, CDs, DVDs, carpets, cooking utensils and lots of swedish food to last at least for a month or two.
And of course a big chunk of swedish goodwill,humour and endurance. She/He will need that!!!
To your friend I say Akwaaba in advance.
Thanks again Maya.

Maya said...

Thanks for the tips, Posekyere! I had a looong discussion with her yesterday about what Swedish foods to bring (luckily, she also loves and cooks Ghanaian dishes), but like you've suggested I'll ask her to bring other Swedish stuff to off-set all the 'Ghanianess'!

It is great that those of us returning generally do so with a very positive mindset. Hopefully we'll help to improve and develop Ghana.

Sijui said...

Naturally I could not resist :)

1) go to Ikea and stock up on their good quality linens especially towels and bed sheets/spreads.
2) go to same Ikea and stock up on cutlery for every day use and perhaps purchase from a more high end store a good dinner/entertaining set.

We purchased all our furniture/electronics and white goods i.e. washing machine etc in the U.S. after comparison shopping the same items in Accra. Even factoring in the cost of duties/shipment it came out much cheaper.

Related to above, a fact finding visit is always recommended i.e. come to Accra and ground truth everything down to the last detail i.e. know how much your monthly electricity, water, telephone and cell phone bill will be. Scout out rental properties and mortgage providers.....there are a lot of options and it is important to come speak to and interview people so that you have a VERY realistic understanding of the true costs of the move.

Also never forget, the emotional and social costs......moving back entails some very real compromises and tradeoffs.......very good to immerse yourself in what life will be on a daily basis by spending some time beforehand.

My two cents anyway..... :) tell your friend Karibu and Akwaaba, and one last thing of course she has to have a rock solid plan on how to make a living. Many folks have come and returned because expectations have not been met.

Maya said...

Good advice, Sijui, thanks!

The IKEA part is all sorted, after all, being Swedish we take our IKEA with us everywhere we go ;)

I will tell her to read through these comments thoroughly so that by the come she comes she's physically and mentally ready!

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

Sorry, no tips here. But 'veteran diasporan relocator'? Maya, where did you pull that from? I am absolutely gobsmacked! Grease!

Maya said...

Ha ha ha, the phrases that come out of my mouth!

Qué? said...

Books, Maya... books! Before I relocated, I even got a job in a bookstore and stocked the hell up on books, as there aren't any decent up-to-date bookstores here(unless you're into Christian literature).

Nice to see more people making the move.

Maya said...

Thanks Que?!
That's the best tip for any booklover. I remember landing at Gatwick after nine months in Ghana and hovering lustfully over the books at WHSmith, like I had just reached my Mecca! Can still not understand why the mentality in Ghana is that 'Ghanaians don't read' so we don't need bookshops!


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