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17.12.2007 Relationship

Finding The Love of Your Life in Ghana (or West Africa)

Finding The Love of Your Life in Ghana (or West Africa)

Hello Group, Andrew here,

After reading some posts and commenting, I decided to write this post about the "Pros" and "Cons" of finding a life partner in Ghana or West Africa in General, and also about living there. While there are a lot of negative aspects, some positive things outweigh it in my opinion, but you may feel different.

First the Negative aspects:

1. This part of the world is steeped in poverty unlike most westerners are accustomed to. The person you meet may be hoping for a "way out" and if not using you intentionally, may see you as a "saint" sent by God to lift him/her out of poverty. He/she may truly love you, but more for what you can do than for your own inner qualities.
2. West A frica is world renown for "scamming". One has to be extremely careful where any mention of money is discussed.
3. Inequality of the sexes is not uncommon. Roles of men and women are different in Africa, where it is common for women to do most of the household work, rearing of children and even the family farming, living a subservient role under the husband. They don't see this as "bad" simply the natural order of things. In many cultures, the wife may be treated much like a child and expected to give unquestioned obedience all the time. If you are a western woman, you may not like this. If you are a western man, you may find an obedient Ghanaian wife to be an unexpected benefit LOL
4. Income and property are generally both poorer than in the West. Unlike the Caribbean or Mediterranean, Ghana or West Africa is not a place foreign retirees generally go to build a home.
5. The infrastructure is Bad in West Africa, although it is improving. There are still open sewers running in trenches through some streets, there is poor water, electricity that often fails and roads and streets that are uncared for. You may have trouble getting garbage taken away depending on where you are living. Phone or Internet service may not be up to standards or speed you are accustomed to... if you can get it.
6. Tropical diseases are endemic. Things like Typhoid, Yellow fever, Tetanus, Hepatitis A and B and even cholera are common. People still die from measles here.. was in the recent news on Yahoo. Malaria is endemic, you need to take anti-malaria medicine regularly, starting 10 days before going to West Africa. Health Care and Medical care is below standards in much of the country. For serious care Expats usually return to the UK or the USA.
7. There is general lack of some goods. If you go shopping, you will find few stores like in the USA. Places which do have goods like appliances and products are limited in supply. Some things you are used to, you simply cannot get. People shop from small family owned markets.
8. There is not a great deal of public entertainment. Ghanaians are family oriented and make their own entertainment. You wont find amusement parks, many malls or cinemas or theater events if you are that type of person. Libraries are few and understocked with books. Home TV may be limited to a few local channels. The mind of the average Ghanaian is occupied all the time with "how to make a living". Entertainment, when it comes is usually a "village affair" with dancing and drumming and some feasting. The rest of the time people entertain themselves. Children play board games or soccer.. video games are for the very rich. Expats often complain of feeling culturally isolated.

The Positive Things:

1. Ghana is a very MORAL and RELIGIOUS country! It has strong family values and in the south the Bible is even taught in public schools. There is Prayer in school in most of West Africa. In the far North, the Muslim religion is more common. There is not a big drug problem among youth, homosexuality is illegal, and a hotel may want to see your marriage license to rent you a room! While many Ghanaians may seek relationships and marriage, casual sex outside of marriage is frowned upon. Immoral conduct can get you arrested and it is a serious charge.
2. Ghana is English Speaking. Unlike living in some middle eastern countries or Asia, you can speak English throughout Ghana and be understood. In some villages a dialect called "Pidgin English" is common, but Ghana is trying hard to make proper English standard throughout the country. Even Mexico ( a common place for retiring Americans) requires learning Spanish to really get along.
3. The Ghana people are Friendly. This is an understatement! They are so friendly and accepting you feel welcome immediately. They will hug strangers and everyone wants to shake your hand. I have never seen such happy people! From the moment you set foot in Ghana, you will never feel left alone. They will share with you even if they have nothing!
4. Foreign currency buys a lot. You get over 9,000 cedes for 1 dollar so money has a huge buying power. It is possible to rent a nice flat for maybe $100 a month in the capital. You can find a decent double room in a hotel with AC for about $35 a night.. of course you can pay more for a luxury hotel.
5. Ghana has a rich culture. It is home to several tribes and each has a culture steeped in thousands of years of tradition. there are dances and drumming and music and foods which are a delight to all visitors. Beautiful KENTE CLOTH hand woven and hand carved wooden items are available in most villages. There is a rich history.. some tragic too like the slave trade. There are museums and eco forest places to see with jungle elephants and wildlife.
6. Church is central to the life of most Ghanaians. besides being a place of worship, it is also a social event and a place of entertainment. The singing can last for hours in some churches, and participation is joyous and enthusiastic. you really can have a "good time" in church here!
7. People help one another. In the US one can break down with their car and just sit there, unless they have a cell phone. In the west, people no longer go out of their way to hep one another, but not so in Ghana! In Ghana if you need anything, it is simple to find someone willing to help you.. in fact they may even insist on it! Do you need directions to find some place? A Ghanaian will surely give you directions! (even if he has no clue where it is, he will direct you somewhere LOL because he truly want to help you!)
8. Children are respectful! Older people can shop in America and kids may "flip them the finger" or shout vulgar words at them. Most Ghanaian children would never behave in such a manner! They will speak politely to adults and are ever helpful, often to rude foreigners who don't deserve it. They respect their teachers. If you marry a Ghanaian, their children will generally accept you immediately.
9. Opportunities Abound. You can invest in a small business for a fraction of what it could cost in the West, You can volunteer or teach, you can work with the poor or help families. You can work with a church. In short, you can feel you are of value to humanity

In summary:

Ghana may be poorer in resources, but it is rich in its people! You may have money and a nice house in America and still be truly poor, with few friends or people who care once your money is gone. While a Ghanaian may like your money (of course) they will not desert you or fail to be friends when you don't have it, because they don't generally base their friendship on what someone has. They too will share freely out of the little they have.

To me this feeling of friendship, or family, is what makes Ghana or West Africa worthwhile. It even makes it worth living a poorer lifestyle as long as one has all they need. What is money after all? You can't take it with you. So as long as you know all the pros and cons, Ghana is really a very nice place to consider and Ghanaians are wonderful friends.