Obroni In Accra
WELCOME, ALL readers of DAILY GUIDE . I am an ''– a white man living in Accra. I am going to write a weekly column about Accra and Ghana seen through the eyes of a white man. I will be observing, judging and looking at Accra, Ghana, Ghanaians, and white people living in Ghana in a way that has not been seen or thought about yet.
Allow me to introduce myself; my name is (I prefer to remain anonymous for the time being). I have been visiting Ghana since the end of the 1980s and have been living, full time, in Ghana for the last few years.
I have been involved in politics and business in Europe, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ghana. Because I was uncertain about what I wanted to be when I became a big boy, I studied Agriculture, Hotel management and Economics. I have been married for almost 18 years to my lovely Ghanaian wife and we have two ' pete' children.
My in-laws, their wives, children and Ghanaian friends have given me inside information about Ghanaian society. I consider Ghana my home and I am not only in love with my wife but also with my new home country Ghana.
I live, read, write and think Ghana. I personally think that Ghana is blessed with natural resources, has a friendly and smart population and because of that, Ghana has all that it takes to grow into a wealthy first world country. BUT….
That is where in Accra will start next week. Some people may think, “Who does that white man think he is, judging us Ghanaians”? Or “I never thought you can look that way at our society”.
The idea behind in Accra is to 'open eyes' and to create an understanding between Ghanaians and white people living in or visiting Ghana. What is also important to me is for Ghanaians to keep an open mind and not judge some things as funny and act weird towards people they are not used to.
Let me give you one example. My wife came to my (former home) country, where I had been living for almost 30 years, and noticed there was dog shit on almost every street. Will you believe that I never noticed that until she pointed it out to me? After she told me, I started to hate it and it became very dirty to me. She, on the other hand, was also shocked; she thought Europe was going to be beautiful and clean when compared to Ghana. What my wife did to me that day is part of what I want to show you in Ghana.
Some things may be viewed as “normal” to you because you are used to it.
But throwing away your water sachets on the street is not normal, paying 2 Cedis to a police officer at a barrier for “nothing” is not normal, sitting next to a public servant for him to stamp your forms and paying him something to say “thank you” is not normal.
I was born in a free country where we call a spade a spade and the main reason I like Ghana is because it is also a free country. We enjoy freedom of speech and mind in Ghana and since I consider this country as mine, just as any other Ghanaian, I think I am entitled to have an opinion about our country, just like any other citizen or resident in Ghana.
in Accra is not the opinion of white people living in Ghana. It is only the opinion of 1 white person, namely me. It is my personal opinion about white and black people living in Ghana. I am trying to put a mirror on both sides and trying to compare them and teach them to understand each the other. I will try to advise both parties and can joke about their behaviour through the eyes of the other. I will use generalizations, seriousness, jokes, advice, and any other ways, to show the behavior of the African and European inhabitants of Ghana.
A wise old man once told me; “We put peanuts in bottles and water in sachets, and you put water in bottles and peanuts in sachets, and we both have our reasons”. That does not mean one is smarter than the other, it just means we don't look at the world through the same eyes, the best way is to obviously stay somewhere in the middle.
Another wise old man – my own father who is almost 80 – told me when I was an ambitious young man starting my career; “Civilization? Do you call what we have civilization; we are slaves of our jobs, our bosses and our time. We work hard to pay all our bills and to have 2 weeks holiday a year, it's just greed. You call that civilization? Africa is where the real civilization is; when people have enough to eat and drink, they start having fun with it and don't even come to work the next day because there is plenty, that's what civilization is about”.
I just mean to say there are good and bad things about every society, I happen to live here in Accra and I have my opinion and that is what you will get. Until next week,