The Year of MY Return: Accra, Ghana
For those of you who know me, or have read my Instagram bio I am Ghanian. I was born in the U.S. but my parents are Ghanian. I've been to Ghana once when I was a baby and another time when I was junior in high school. I wish I could have traveled to Ghana more, because I longed to get more in touch with my family history.
My parents did not teach the language (Twi) to me, they more assumed that I would pick it up like my older sister did. But not knowing the language would not stop me. For I knew I wanted to learn more and get in touch with my roots. Now almost 6 years later and living in Europe, I knew I needed to go back. Not just for the #YearofTheReturn, but for my own return. Enjoy as I share with you my return to the homeland of Accra, Ghana.
When I arrived to the Kotoka International Airport I was surprised. The airport had been renovated since the last time I was there. When I arrived, it was a small airport that maybe only had three or four flights going in and out a day. And now here it was big and open. With the
craziness of the #Coronavirus they were scanning people as they approached passport control. Luckily, your girl did not get stopped and except to ask if I am a Ghanian.
I was picked up by my Dad and his Uncle David's driver, Joe. You might be thinking, a driver? Your Uncle has a driver? Yes, my uncle David Asante-Apeatu was the previous I.G.P (Inspector General of Police) in Ghana. He is now retired, but even in retirement he is granted a few drivers. I stayed with him and my Aunt Saawa at their government home.
My dad usually comes to Ghana once a year. It's his time to relax and to get work done. My dad is in the process of building a home. This house will be for his retirement and as a home for my older sister, Sandra and I to use when we come visit. It is currently undergoing construction, but my Dad hopes to finish my the end of 2020.
During the month of February, it is warm temperatures in the 80-90s degree Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius). Which was a nice change from 40-50 degree weather in Northern Italy. I had the chance to go towards the shoreline. My Uncle David has a beach house along the shoreline, talk about some views. The beach is one of my favorite places to be, so I definitely soaked up as much of it as I could.
I even started to convenience my Dad that we should build a beach house right next to my Uncle's. There are even some resorts on the mountains that are truly breathtaking. One of the resorts I had the chance to check out was the Peduase Valley Resort. I went during the evening, but let me tell you even during the evening the place glowed. The food was phenomenal, and the drinks were very similar to the U.S. so of course I ordered by drink of choice, a Sex on the Beach. It was a nice way to relax and get away from all the hustle and bustle of the city.
Not all the roads in Ghana are paved.Even the road leading to the beach house was not paved. It is common, which makes it for a fun bumpy ride to some places.
On roads that have stop lights or tolls you'll find people selling all kinds of products. Water, juices, sponges, paper towels, a live rabbit 🐇 (Rest In Peace to the rabbit), toilet paper, picture frames, light bulbs, you name it! But be careful about staring cause they will assume you want some and will come to your window waiting for you to buy.
Family means everything to me, and to my parents. So, of course when in Ghana I had to see some of my aunts and uncles. Something that I always found funny about our culture is that everyone in a way is your Aunt or your Uncle. The real reason is because when you are young to greet someone that is older than you, to show respect you greet them as your Uncle or Aunt. It used to confuse me, because I used to think one of my cousins was my Aunt lol. But like the old saying goes, "when you're here you're family" you feel connected no matter what.
One of my family members I had to chance to hang out with was my cousin Ofeia. Although, we have a big age gap we have always had a great time together. This time around she took me out
in the town of Osu. This is the main tourist area of Accra. The nightlife here is definitely my favorite. Chilled and laidback. When the drinks, music and food are good then what can be better?
We went to a few bars during the evening, but my favorite was Bloombar. This place had great lighting and the music was popping. Personally, this one was my favorite because of the look and feel of the place. Plus, they had tables and chairs, so when my tiny legs got tired of dancing I got my chair and kept it moving lol.
Not sure about y'all, but whenever I travel anywhere I'm most excited about the FOOD! :) Even though, I grew up eating Ghanian food, I was so excited to be getting it straight from Ghana herself. I will admit with the heat, I did find myself sweating bullets while I indulged, but when the food is that good how can you let the heat stop you?
One of the things I love most about Ghana is the street vendors. If you're looking to enjoy some fresh mango, just drive down any busy road there is probably a vendor selling them! At most you'll pay 5-7. Ghana Cities which is equivalent to $1-$1.50.
Another favorite dish of mine is white rice, with fried plantains and stew. A fair warning to my people who are not a fan of spicy food, just know it can be hard to find non-spicy foods. But does not mean you can't enjoy it! A dish like this goes for 25-35 Ghana Cedis which is $5-$6. Talk about CHEAP!
Some other fun things I did:
As you all may have noticed purchases in Ghana are pretty cheap compared to the U.S. If you carry USD you'll find you can indulge in some of your favorite pleasures. One of my pleasures is getting my hair done. So best believe I got my hair did. To do this style with wash and dry, it cost 100 Ghana Cedis which is only $19 USD!! For all my ladies looking to get their hair done, go to Ghana you'll thank me later :)
Another experience I had, was getting the chance to meet self-taught artist, Safori. Born and raised in Ghana Safori has created unique and stunning pieces. He even created artwork for #Oprah!! What I really appreciated about him and his work, was how each piece was nothing like the other. So as you walk through each artwork it was like diving into a new book.
I had the chance to meet him through my Uncle David, who will be having Safori create one of kind pieces for his home. He is truly one talented individual, who puts his all into his work. Definitely check out more of his artwork below and on his instagram page!
Thank you all for checking out my return to Ghana! Please feel free to leave a comment on some of your favorite things I shared. To get updates on new blog posts I make, drop your email down in the subscribe section at the bottom of the page!
- Chelsea Abena