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Surviving Arrival in Ghana

I arrived a couple days ago in Accra, Ghana—so far it exceeds my expectations.

I have been surprised at every corner since I arrived—I have hot water showers, TV, Internet, a comfortable queen-sized bed, a full kitchen and even a washer for laundry. I had not expected any of this—I am pleasantly surprised. However, I lose either Internet access, water or electricity everyday and sometimes all three services at once. I have a flashlight and candles, a bucket of water ready to go, and am learning to keep all electronics fully charged when possible, just in case.

I had also thought I may be lonely since I am traveling alone but that’s not the case, either. I have many friends and a great social network already. The Ghanaian people are kind and helpful but there is also a community of foreigners who have been very supportive as well. I must admit I am not shy either, which works in my favor! There are great expat organizations that help foreigners and there is even a Facebook page for Ghana expats.

Anyone coming to the region should also be aware it takes time to acclimatize to the heat—it is very hot and very humid. I have been so tired since my arrival and have been told it will take a least a couple weeks to get used to. I kind of feel like I never will right now, but I’ve been assured that it does pass. I feel weak and often nausea from the heat and exhaustion.

Visitors to Ghana should plan to do nothing the first few days bring a couple movies and relax indoors with A/C and have short outings during the afternoon until you feel better. I made the mistake of starting to work only 36 hours after my arrival; I am home now for the next few days because I didn’t realize how weak I would be. I will go back to work after I feel stronger, although I feel bad. I’m also not sure my work understands so I wish I planned better and gave myself more time—mistake number one.

Nanti ye! ("Goodbye" in Twi. Twi the is the major language spoken among Ghanaians alongside of English, which I am happy to report most people speak.)

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Published in Work Abroad Blogs
Michelle Stais

Michelle Stais is a mature student who went back to school for a second career—her previous career was in fashion, where she worked for fashion magazines and owned a boutique in Toronto on Queen St. After deciding she wanted to do something more meaningful, she closed her store in 2010 and returned to school. A student of Centennial College's Cultural and Tourism Management program, Michelle is currently interning in Ghana.

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