What I don’t miss about Ghana

What do I NOT miss about Ghana?!

As much as I miss Ghana (it is a lot), there are many things that I truly do NOT miss about living in West Africa. Lots of things in life are bittersweet, but for now let’s take a look at the bitterness that I’m quite content to have left behind.

The weather: True, it has been a “rough” summer (according to most), and the weather in the Midwest has been pretty HOT and HUMID. But, it still is more pleasant than it was in Ghana. Even the days when the weather is comparable, people aren’t outside NEARLY as much (around me at least) as they are in Ghana. People complain about how hot it is, when the only time they have to go outside is the 30 seconds spent in their car before the air-conditioning works, then the 2 minute walk in the parking lot from their car to their destination (which is most likely air conditioned). I’ve noticed my body can handle warmer temperature than most people, and that I get cold easier. It also gets cooler at night in the Midwest, so it’s much more tolerable at night. It’ll be 95 degrees here and I’ll go on a run at 4 pm and my friends will think I’m crazy. They’re right.

Slow Restaurant Service: I’m still shocked every time I go out to eat when my food arrives so quickly. It makes me so excited I feel like I end up eating more!

 

Mosquitoes with Malaria: Mosquitoes in Minnesota and Wisconsin don’t have malaria! THEY CAN BITE ME ALL THEY WANT! They’re not as sneaky anyways. It’s nice not having to sleep with a mosquito net, too.

No Air conditioning: That’s just something I’ll always appreciate. It’s so beautiful. It feels good. It sounds pleasant. It keeps mosquitoes away. It keeps me cool. And, best of all, it’s almost everywhere: restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, airports, libraries, coffee shops, trains, busses, bus stations, malls, movie theaters. They all have air conditioning (for the most part). What a great invention!

Being responsible to provide your own soap/toilet paper: I’m almost over this luxury, but the first time I got off the plane, I went to the bathroom. After I finished my business, I drank the tap water, pocketed some free toilet paper, and washed my hands with WAY too much soap. It was quite epic.

Sunlight from 6am-6pm: It’s great having sunlight until 9-10 pm. In Ghana, it was basically pitch black by 6 pm. I think it’s rainy season now, so it might even get darker sooner, but it’s nice to be able to do stuff outdoors as the sun is setting. I’ve gone on a few bike rides and jogs at 7 or 8 pm, or even later (after the sun set). It’s nice and cool, still light out, and the streets are nice and paved. Also, I don’t have to worry about…

Obruni Traps: The open gutters in Ghana are often referred to “Obruni Traps”. I don’t miss walking around and worrying about slipping and falling into one. I do miss watching my fellow obruni’s fall into them or hearing stories about their accidents. Just kidding! (Kinda)

Hand Washing my laundry: Don’t get me wrong! Hand washing your clothes can be good exercise, a good way to catch a tan and do something outdoors, and a great way to bond one on one with your clothes and feel accomplished. However, having someone do your laundry (love ya MOM AND DAD!) is much easier, and having a machine do the washing is easier, too. I’ve hand washed a few times since being back, but has been nice having a machine do most of the work. I’ll admit it, though. It does hurt me a bit deep down knowing that I was just learning how be good/decent job at hand washing my clothes, and then it was time to leave. But, when I recall how BAD I was the first few times, it’s nice to know I don’t have to be embarrassed anymore.

Aside from that, there’s not much I can say. Even if I complain about the things that I had a hard time with while I was in Ghana, the positives CLEARLY outweigh the negatives.

Despite the list above, I would GLADLY go through all of it if it meant I could wake up, sweaty, in a room with no air-conditioning at 7 am covered in bug spray from the night before. Then, go to the bathroom with soap and toilet paper in my bucket. Then, take a seat outside and attempt to hand wash my filthy clothes. Then, avoid the open gutters during my walk to a restaurant where I’ll order and not know how long I’ll have to wait for my food. All of this would be worth it to me, just to speak Twi, eat a big bowl of fufu and meat for $2, and dance azonto as the locals smile and laugh at me.

Oh, Ghana, how I miss you so!

Love Always,

Jeremy Kwabena

P.S.

Stay tuned for: “Things I do NOT NOT miss about Ghana”

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