Being volunteer in an orphanage

Let’s help those in needs in Africa! 

Since I did not work all day, I had time to give to an association …

I decided to help in an orphenage since I like being with children, playing with them and teaching them things .

A friend of mine was already a nurse in Beacon House orphenage…

So one day, I followed her in this orphanage and I started a “love and helping” adventure.

beacon house orphanage

 

  • What I do in Beacon House as a volonteer :

My friend who introduce me had to moove out  from Africa… so my first mission in the orphenage was to prepare the medecines for those kids who have VIH (25% of the orphans in this orphenage). She explained me and since then I do it all wednesday for the whole week. I also go to hospital with them once a monthe to see the doctor who take car of the one with VIH.

But after this, I started to find games such as puzzle, and also dancing on zumba style!

Volunteers can help with school (homework, tutoring, reading ), they can propose arts and crafts, organizing a game, sports and other projects per their skills. If you have other hobbies (such as me music and danse) you can propose it to the orphanage director for approval and just start !

I already started to have idea to collect some clothes, toys, shoes, and medecines because they were in needs og basic ones.

I send a letter to Accra to be publish on their own website and I had so many respond after that at school! And by word of mouse, I get even more that I could imagine!

After this, I put  an album on my facebook page for sharing photos of kids playing with toys and wearing clothes they gave me for them.

Many friends from France also answered my call by sending me medecines, clothes, toys…so that I can return it when i will be in France ( in the end of  April for holidays ).

It is wonderful to see their smiles, energy!

  • How is everdyday life in Beacon House orphenage ?

They are 23 lovely children there : the smallest baby  is 6 months and the oldest child is 21.

Most of them are about 5 to  7 years old.

I also learned their everyday life such as duty :

Each day, 2 or 3  kids have to clean different parts of the house inside and outside. So there is a planning sticked on the wall to kwnow who do what and when ! Good organization! However, sometimes, one kid refuse to do it, since this is the way, the director of the orphenage give a punition : he will be forbidden to go to school the day after and he will have to clean even more!

Morevover, after school both girls and boys have to  wash with hands their clothes since they do not have a washing machine here.

P1070947

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One lady prepare food for dinner for the 23 children. Most of the time they eat rice with something else like chicken, eggs.

Their plates are filled very well!   However, they ask donors  to give fruits and vegetables for having vitamins since it is expansive here.

They have a land 35 minutes from Accra (where they will moove on in few months) where they already try to become self- sufficient and they have built a chicken coop  (thanks to american donors) : they produce eggs for them to give protein for energy  and even to sell now to get an income for them to spend in other food expenses ! Other projects such as producing  their own food are in progress :they have already  planted orange, lemon, avocado, and mango trees to provide fruits for the home. A great idea !

They all go to the ghanaian school wich is not far  and they go there by walking. They start at 8am and finish around 3pm. They both learn english and french (since Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso,  are close to Ghana).

  • Rules for adoption and link to help all around the world

Adoption is limited in Ghana right now. An american lady asked for adopting th 6 months baby (Matthew) but governement refused. It is so sad for him to miss to have parents and better condition of living , education and hobbies…

  • Changing myself, and being aware of reality 

This experience makes me grow and gives me a great joy, each time I enter the orphanage, a little boy or girl is running to kiss me and giving a big hug, and the others are following with their “mumies”working there with big great smile.

It is like if I was a Mrs Santa Claus giving love, hugs, cuddles and bringing  fruits, toys, clothes..

Helping the most disavantaged is really a self-fulfilment for me. I feel like growing into a better person, and changing my point of view of the world, being more aware of the opposed lives on earth.

Poverty or / and being an orphan is hard to see but their everyday smile gives me a beautiful lesson of life!! How wonderful they are inside and their courage, strenght to struggle.

I you feel like being to be a volunteer, here is a link of a website to  know and find how  to be a volunteer in all the world:   workaway.

It is really wonderful to see how love is strong from them to you and the from you to them !!

“LOVE IS EVERYWHERE “

555542_261749473941237_1182778154_n

TK BEADS

In Accra, not far from the center, you can visit a manufacture of ghanaian beads which exist since 1989. It is called  TK BEADS INDUSTRY.

It is really interesting to see how they do it from the beggining with bottles in glass to the necklaces ! They manufacture glass beads of high quality using the rich African processes; everything is handmade from molding to painting !

I went there with Accra Accueil, it is 15 mn far from Accra, on the road to Madina.

  • BEADS MANUFACTURING STEPS AND EXPLANATIONS

Here are the steps in photos for getting beads :

First, all the  all manufacturing takes place outside, only a small shop  with beads and necklace, bracelets has a room.

They have divided the place according to the activity and steps :

First, the collection part where thousands of glass bottles are piled up. These bottles are collected or given by people.

verre pile

Here you can see that  glasses are  broken and crumbled.

Afterwards, they need to make it a ball and they bake it in an oven outside for many hours:

When it is done, and after the ball glass are cooled, they can put cooling agents :

couleur verre TK beads

The final step is to paint each bead with hands of course, it is a  work of precision and it takes a long long time!

painting beads

An at last, they can make nice necklaces homemade with good quality beads!

Many expat go there and buy some beads to make their own necklace in the shop next to the fabrication.

shop beads

It is a very good activity for mothers and children!

  • KOLI OR NAMING BEADS

  • Beads in Africa have different  utilities, meanings and significations.

Ghanaian babies are born with soul name, which is the name of the day on which they are born. (for ex monday name = Adjoa for girl ; and Kojo for Boy).

ceremony name beads

But when they are 7 days, the naming ceremony takes place and a formal name is given.

Then , they are presented to “the sun and earth” and given water, alcohol and salt to taste.

The ceremony includes the grandmother bestowing blue Koli or plain white beads on the child, by tying them on a cotton thread on the joints (waist, neck, ankles).

beads children neck

There is language of beads : for example if the child is a member of a royal family, a gold nugget, yellow beads or coral may be added to the Koli beads. As babies grow, the tightness of the string of beads indicates whether they are growing at a healthy rate so that their mother are awared if their baby is under or overweight. And moreover, the string of beads is also used to attach nappied!!

  • WAIST BEADS

African women  wear waist beads for different reasons.

The strands of small, glass beads are often bestowed upon young girls who start to wear in the run up to puberty.

As the girls grow, so the tightness of the waist beads indicates whether they are growing at a healthy rate. As well as weight control, they are also worn for spiritual reasons, chastity and to document pertinent stages of a woman’s life.

waist beads

Beads colours are symbolic as well :

Yellow means royalty, white purity…. :

P1080145

Traditionally waist beads are a very private body ornament with only the wearer deciding what she wears, and are hidden under their clothes.

Nowadays, they are being appropriated by women all over the world, wearing beads in necklaces like a fashion accessories.

This is causing an offense among those with a traditionalist perspective.

 

Bojo Beach -40 mn drive from Accra-

WEEK END IS STARTING AT LAST  😉 !!!

It is time to rest out of Accra!!

Enjoy Bojo Beach !

 

At 40 minute drive from Accra,  just past krokobite beach and you get to is this little piece of paradise to escape at last from the crowded and noisy Accra.

Here is the nearest beach from Accra : BOJO BEACH !

Entry fee is Ghc 15 but be aware that  you are not allowed to take your own food or drink.

You will walk on a stone trail to a large canoe-type boat which will takes you across the lagoon to the white sand of Bojo beach.

Then it is time to rest and enjoy the sea with a wind …If you want , you can ask a table 10 meters from the sea, without nobody in front of you ! Just amazing 🙂

 

You can order food such as  tilapia, chicken, jollof, yam chips, but also french fries, octopus,  etc. Smoothie, Pizzas are also available. Prices are correst (around 35 GHC the chicken /french fries meal and 2 GHC the bottle of water).You should try to order as soon as you arrived so that you will get your meal for lunch -and not for dinner-     😉

You can also have fresh coconuts  for 2 GHC to quench your thirst after swimming or having a walk along the beach.

The sea is quite clean, the beach all around the restaurant also, but all garbage are hidden in holes under the sand…… you can see in front of you the man “cleaning” by digging a hole and put all the litter inside….

The “attraction” here is to see the fishermen firing their nets in front of you. They are about 20 men doing this :

 

 

20160221_102415
Small fishes to sale

You can talk to them and they will love to explain their work.

Today, I met Francis a ghanaian from accra, who come every week-end to Bojo Beach to go fishing from 6 am to 11 am. During the week , he works as a security guard in Accra Mall.

They sell their frying of fished on markets or to you if you want of course.

==>But what I saw is so so so small fishes ….

The waves tends to be strong and you have to swim well and dive under each wave coming to you … it can be quite difficult to stay along inside because of it. The sea is hot and you feel good inside!

Some people also play in the volley ball court but it is so hot that I did not even tried once!

Be awared also that music start from 2 pm from the restaurant : so if you feel like dancing, and love music,  it is perfect !! But if you want to rest in a quiet place,  it is no more possible. So you should choose to come early  and leave early !

On the afternoon, you can have a walk and discover all the colored fishing boat in wood, and meet ghanaian tidying up and folding fishing nets,  and also children collecting crabs to cook ! Since it can be far, I had the security guard following me.

At the end of the day, you can take advantage of the light turning down with the silver reflections of the sea…

Colored fishing boats along the coast are particularly wonderful at sunset.

Do not hesitate to  go to Bojo Beach !

Leave me me comment if you have liked this article ! Thank you !!

What about Expat Women career and work?

What is hiding behind an “expat woman”…

When you decide to follow your husband or boyfriend for expatriation, you know your life is going to be radically different and you will be called an “expat woman”.

I prefer saying ” women follow men” because it is primiraly the case for 90% according to a survey.

What about working abroad although you are in Africa?

 

  • First of all : working abroad will teach you to become adaptable and creative!

If you want to be more “creative”, work on the other side of the world :

I really think that discovering another way to work – with so many differences such as language, culture, time notions, space notions, way of thinking, understanding and realising staff/things –  is the best way to adapt yourself, developping an open minded and high capacity of understanding other people.

No matter the nationalities and the countries, you will always have to adapt to them by understanding  their cultural background and being creative to make business or anything else together. And you will start from the beggining when you will change from world’s region : Asia, America, Europe and Africa have all different ways to behave in business job.

“Cultures come with new norms and values and ways of looking at things, immersing yourself in a culture gives you proxies for biculturalism. Juxtaposing these two different worldviews lets you come up with new possibilities.” Adam Grant

  • Do women really need to work here?

You will have the first chance (at last !!) in your life to stop working ! Or even at least for a while until………… So if you choose to take advantage of the life without working you can feel like being in holidays, being finally able to see your children, taking time to cook more for your family, and above all looking after yourself for the first time since ages 😉

You have followed your husband because  he is supposed to have a better job (I’m only talking about €, £, ¥, $ !!!) , and your apartment and car will also be paid  by the company…..

Moreover, if you finally find a local work paid in GHC be aware that it would be useless for getting more money. At the same time, if the reason why you want to work is to have an activity, just do it !

But afterall you will have to find some activities (or at least one) to have something to do in order to avoid loneliness & a boring life !

However, according to my experience here (but I’m speaking personally), to stop working -because you are abroad- can be also very difficult to survive after a while. You will no more get up every morning thinking how to dress and make up to meet your collegues at 8 o clock and have a working purpose and activities everyday…

  • Is it difficult to get a job in Ghana ?

West African countries like Ghana and Senegal are said to be welcoming….. but…………

The problem is that you should have already moved there to have a chance to get a job. Employers receive so many false assurances from expats pledging to be on the next flight out that preference is usually given to people they meet in person.

Another drawback is that some West African nations may have quotas for issuing work visas to foreigners, with some smaller companies only being allowed one at a time.

On the other hand, reports suggest that anyone with technical skills such as engineering can expect the bureaucratic mist to miraculously lift : the oil and gas sector offers rick pickings, particularly in established countries such as Nigeria and Algeria…

But isn’t it mainly job for men ?!?!?!

==> Consequently, you can now understand that for women, it is not easy to find a work in Africa, except if you work for the embassy (few offers), school (be a teacher) or if you are for your account (psychologist, physiotherapist…)  and that you want to open your  cabinet/ office here. That is possible.

And above all, you have to check if you are allowed or not to work in the hosting country. It is stuck in your Visa passeport Permit. 

My Personnal experience in Ghana…

A SINGLE QUESTION :

Who was I  before being an expat woman …? ” 

Well, FIRST OF ALL I used to be INDEPENDENT !!!!

I was working in Paris, France for a famous natural cosmetic brand called L’Occitane en Provence in the center of this beautiful city which I love so much…

I had responsabilities being a District Manager in the city center of Paris : I was “the boss” of  more than 15 salespersons and 3 shops managers.

So when I choose to quit my job, I was on the one hand happy to be free for the first time of my life and on the other hand  I was scared that I miss my work, colleagues, and stop being proud of myself.

“Will it be worth it …or not…? ”

Nobody could answer that question at that time…

 

MAY 2014… my arrival in Accra

skydiving

BUT WHAT CAN I DO HERE NOW ?????

At my arrival in Accra, I started quicky to be ALONE in my “lovely” house, knowing noone, being LOST in the crowded and noisy capital of Ghana, Accra.

My boyfriend was working from 7 am to 7 pm  so I had yo find out what to make with my two hands and head!

First, I really had difficulties to adapt: I MISSED France, family, friends, colleagues, Paris, my appartment, my dance lessons, my “own” bars of preference , restaurants, Zara and FNAC shops, theatres, Opera Garnier, cinemas and all what Paris could offer… EVERYTHING in fact! And what about here??? Well………. φ φ φ φ φ…….

HOW could I make to go out of this mess ?

==> I HAD to find  a WORK and other  daily ACTIVITIES to integrate and spend time.

July… hummm… no french expat is here … no activities neither … OK, it is summer holidays… well… one solution… (you are following me?!?!!!)  BECAUSE I do not want to commit suicide alone here.

So  I “cried” to my boyfriend :

-“please, my lover, I am sorry but I beg you, can I go back to France for the summer  and I will come back in September ? ……” 

…….

“one angel is very very slowly passing” we would say in french which means “There is a hushed silence “

-OK then… you are sure? You don’t want to stay with me?

-Well………

September 2014, 3 months later…

french parachute

3 months after my arrival, (yes, you know now that all expat women are going back for the whole summer holidays to their country, but I understand why now…). and with good new motivation and a parachute this time , I landed in Accra happy to find my boyfrien again .

I first tried to help in organizing “Accra Accueil” activities and visits with the french association. I met french expat girls and start to discover with them the city, the culture and typical things of Ghana.

So yet, it was a good beggining afterall…  but after 6 months…. the same questions… were coming back to my mind….

I was missing something only given by work : the  Pride to be active and independent.

“WHAT ABOUT GOING BACK TO SCHOOL ? 

BUT THIS TIME FOR HELPING AND  TEACHING CHILDREN ?”

“WHAT ABOUT BEING A VOLUNTEER IN AN ORPHENAGE?”

….

 

Contrary to all expectations, the life changed for me from that moment.

At last, I felt like waking up again …!

 

namaste

Africa X the rest of the planet

When you are starting to be an expat in  AFRICA (in one of the most developed African countries such as Ghana), you will discover some nice sides which will make you thanks “god” to be there… or wondering how to escape !!!!

 

THE GOODS SIDES OF BEING AN EXPAT IN AFRICA…

On the one hand…. 

  • You are used to eat cheap lobsters with french fries under an umbrella on the beach every week ends.

lobster french fries ghana beach.jpg

  • You are given the chance to teach many thingsyou want (even sometimes without a diploma ): french lessons, zumba, aqua gym,sewing lessons… (see activities categories on the page”my french teacher part”)
  • You never do cleaning except if you feel like doing it… which happens one day a year, no?
  • You have people who help you for everything: cooking, taking care of children, driving, ironing, cleaning… seems like you live like a star, or a princess doesn’ t it?
  • And yet, you do not have to wear as a princess: you take 5mn in front of you dressing cupboard to take a short or coton dress and not even necessary to put make up and steels here ! It is so hot that it will not last anyway during whole day long and roads are often with dust and sand…!  you do not use pull over, gloves….whateer the season!!
  • You realize that you conduct like african people now… and you’re no more wondering how to cross the traffic circle of the Place de l’Étoile in Paris !
  • Ghanaian people are helpful and very nice
  • Children go sleeping very early and so you do since it’s night at 6 pm till 5 am.

AND THE BADS SIDES …

On the other hand……

Weather, water and light …

  • You would like to be cold and put the AC at 10 ° one day to wear some pull over and put a big quilt on your bed …
  • When you realize that you forgot to put on your shoes -because you do not really need at home- but you have black feet because it s always dirty with the Harmattan wind and pollution even if your house is cleaned everyday.
  • Power outage happens everydays and if you don not have a generator you have no more light and air conditioning…
  • You wake up and have no water to take your shower and so you use 10 bottles of mineral water to wash yourself and kids…

Foods and shops

  • You are happy to go to the supermarkets as Marina mall and Shoprite because you can meet other women expat (since there is no much more shopping to do here…)
  • You dream to do shopping in ZARA and FNAC even if it was in “the Halles” in Paris on a saturday crowded afternoon.
  • You are happy that Nespresso came in your town even if one capsule cost 1 €.
nespresso marina mall
Nespresso counter in Accra
  • You pay an average 50 dollars the kilo for french cheese.
  • You try to make libanese friends (who have mostly all the supermarkets and gaz station) in order to have fuel or water just in case of shortage

shortage fuel

 

Diseases  😦 

  • Most african people with VIH , rabies, polio …are not under treatment
  • Mosquitoes spread malaria, from infected to healthy people  :

     

     

     

     

  • You pay 400 dollars for a dental treatment
  • There is malnutrition and people beg for 20 cents to drink and eat at traffic light and you can’t help everybody and change the world…

Roads…

  • In Africa,  (ghanaian) like driving on the left side of the motorway you do not know why… and pass that car on the right….ok lets do the same…
  • They drive on the 2 sides of the road in one direction and do not care if you can not take the road in the other side… and you get mad!

 

  • You would like to walk in a street without sand, dust and mud on your feet, garbage and plastic bags scattered all over the ground…

     

  • You dream to go to Sao Tomé, a wonderful amazing small island for 3 days but there is only one not secured flight company which goes there 2 times a week only…

 

TO CONCLUDE :

BAD SIDES SEEMS TO BE ENORMOUS COMPARED TO GOOD SIDES…. BUT IT IS NOT BIG DEALS WHAT YOU’VE  READEN !

There are much more to enjoy in African everyday life! 

Be happy and enjoy to be an expatriate in Africa !

Shops and food prices in Accra

When you arrive in a new country, you have to find out the shops according to what you want to eat and above all depending on the money you want to spend for it!

Starting eating local food? Go on eating western meals?

There are several types of shops and places to go for it and of course big differences in prices…

  • AT ROUNDABOUT OR TRAFFIC LIGHT

Ghanaian are walking next to traffic light where cars stop with fruits, chips, water, bread but also electronic, telephone card, even paintings!! in order to sell it. They mostly carry it above their head which is particular from Africa!

We really wonder how they manage to carry such heavy things on their head!! Their prices are quite low and you can negociate.

vodafone men accra
Mobile recharge salesmen in Accra on the road

Unfortunately, it is not allowed by ghanaian government (except for telephone card because it’s their job for a mobile company).

I saw police coming and running after them in order to take all their goods so that they can’t sell it anymore. It is really difficult as my driver told me, because these ghanaians have nothing and only try to eat everyday with selling this type of product.  I was really angry and found it incomprehensible.

  • SHOPS IN STREETS

Ghanaian who can afford it have small shops (one room) where they sell vegetable, fruits and other things to eat. Their prices are quite low to and you can sometimes negociate. Moreover, I think it’s better to keep Ghanaian their business going than making the rich distribution group richer……….

  • MARKET SUCH AS MAKOLA OR MADINA MARKET

 

In these typical and dynamic markets, it is always very hot, noisy and crowded! The smell is sometimes very awful because of dried fishes… Bands play music. You will find food (big snails also!!)

snails makola market accra ghana
Snails in Makola market

, kithenware, fabrics, shoes, jewels, beads…….. and you can negociate prices of course! It is both in open air and in old buildings all around. There is a parking too.

 

You should not take photo. I tried one day but they wre angry about that.I will be better to enjoy the flow and enjoy and speak to them with smile. – a colourful open-air department store spread over several blocks.

  • SUPERMARKETS

palace supermarket accraKoala is a lebanese supermaket (in both Aiport or Osu area) where you can find easily food from everywhere and freezing things too. Prices are high but there is a free card with 5 % discount. It also offers you basic foodstuffs, bakery (french bread for 3,5 GHC). The Koala in Osu is bigger than in airport.

Palace is also a bigger supermaket on spintex road.

  • BAKERY FOR FRENCHIES!

Bread and Wine bakery and Delicatessen is located in OSU. It imports all his equipment and grain from France ! Bread and patisserie is baked each day and you will be like in France with your French baguettes your  brioche, raisin bread… There is also very expensive french cheese, pizzas…  I really like the outdoor and indoor setting . What’s more it is simple with nice classy decoration and you can rest easily next to the swimming pool since it is not noisy. Waiters are great and the strawberry cheesecake is heavenly !

D Café is also delivering good french bread and bakery in Airport next to Koala supermarket. One baguete is about 7 GHC so 2 times more than in France! Many expatriates and business man take a sit to drink coffee and eat a french croissant outside but it’s in front of the road so quite noisy…

  • MALLS

There are several malls where you can find supermarkets, pharmacy, electronic and phone shop, clothes shops, beauty shop, cinema…

It is Marina Mall in airport side, Accra Mall in Spintex road,  Maxt Mart 37 in Liberation Road and in East Legon, AC Mall in East Legon…

Marina Mall (airport area)

The newest and most popular shopping centre in Ghana is Marina Mall (in Airport). The supermarket in on the ground floor selling many expensive foreign goods but also good and cheap meat, fresh fishes and Deli counter. There are three floors of shops (expansive clothes, watches, computers, pharmacy), and a food court (KFC, DeliFrance). Well known french brands such as Benetton, Clarins, and Façonnable are here too.  You can also find to take you ID photos on the 3rd floor.

Accra Mall (Spintex road)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Game supermarket in Accra Mall

In this mall there are clothing boutiques (african fabrics such as Woodin and Vlisco, or famous brands like Levis, Puma, Swatch). Shoprite is a food shop and Game has food, electronic,  fitness and cooking equipment, but also tools, bedroom, kids and bathroom staff…. You can have lunch in a fastfood or restaurant there). On the first floor,  book and music store are next to the cinema, showing current blockbusters, Nollywood and Ghanaian films.

Concerning Shoprite, it  is Africa’s largest food retailer and has a  wide selection of foods including imported meats from South Africa. There’s also a deli counter, and large selections of wines as well as household goods. Prices are cheaper compared to Marina Mall and Maxmart.

A&C MALL (East Legon area) 

You will find  A&C Square offering clothing shops (Woodin), coffee shops, entertainment ( a modern health club), Vodafone, food retailer,  and also health clinics and a vegetable/fruit ghanain shop next to a children’s play area.

Maxt Mart 37 (in Liberation road)

This three-storey supermarket has a good bakery and a large deli counter (with cold meats, cheeses). On the 1st floor, there are brands such as Clarins, Mont Blanc and Lancel ! On the second floor, there is a large selection of homeware such as bedding, glassware, candles and picture frames.

 

  • PRICES:

Now, lets see the prices of goods in Malls or supermarkets.

Some products are coming from South Africa such as meat. It is  really a good one and it’s very cheap! It is abour 30 GHC for 1kg of steak! So inviting friends for big barbecues here are cheap !! 🙂

Local fishes are also very good and is not expensive.

Chicken is known to come from Bresil and people say it is not good one but personnaly, I eat chicken very often and I never got sick ( 30GHC for 1kg)!

On the other hand, fresh vegetables are more expensive. For tomatoes, you will have to pay 6 GHC for 6 very small ones. A small salad (for only 2 people) is about 3,5 GHC. Some are only available frozen such as beans, broccolis and spinach (25GHC for 500g) and it’s very difficult to find. There are often out of stock…so when there are available, you buy a lot to fill your freezer!

Yogurt are really unaffordable in my view : one solutionis to make it home! Many expat women bought a yogurt maker (as I did) and it’s very easy and quick to do!

500g pasta are about 10 GHC.

Chocolates (often delivered by the industrial Leader Price) is about 15 to 25 GHC for 100g…

Cheese (french always eat that!) do not come cheap neither : at least 100 GHC for 1kg.

Wines are also expensive and moreover the quality is quite bad for not saying very bad… The less expensive one is about 15 GHC (for cooking one). Mostly it is around 40 GHC the first level.

So be prepared to get used to life here or bring back products from France ! (I never had problem at the airport, even if my suitcase was smelling like feet!!!!

Here, you will see that women expat buy their food in different shops because prices are sometimes twice more from one to the other and some products have a better quality too. It makes shopping a bit complicated but you know women expat have time.

  • Recommended Minimum Amount of Money for food (Western food types)

For two people we spend about 3000 GHC eating western food (with cheese, bacon, ham… which are expensive). Underneath, you can see the prices for each basic product to make your own average.

Milk (regular), (0.25 liter) 0.61 €
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (125.00 g) 0.52 €
Rice (white), (0.10 kg) 0.38 €
Eggs (2.40) 0.46 €
Local Cheese (0.10 kg) 1.57 €
Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (0.15 kg) 1.13 €
Beef Round (0.15 kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) 0.91 €
Apples (0.30 kg) 0.87 €
Banana (0.25 kg) 0.51 €
Oranges (0.30 kg) 0.72 €
Tomato (0.20 kg) 0.47 €
Potato (0.20 kg) 0.56 €
Onion (0.10 kg) 0.28 €
Lettuce (0.20 head) 0.37 €
Daily  minimum amount of money for food per person eating at home 9.35 € (40 GHC)
Monthly recommended minimum amount of money for food per person
(assuming 31 days per month)
289.80 € (1200 GHC)

Ghanaian fabrics : batik, wax and kente

GHANAIAN DIFFERENT TYPES OF FABRICS: BATIK, KENTE AND WAX.

 

Ghanaian women wear typical fabrics which are beautiful to see in streets.

They are wearing well cut dresses with lively colours and complex patterns.

It is an essential part of the landscape in Accra.

P1010531
JOSEPHINE  wearing colorful dress with ghanaian fabric

Wildly patterned wax-printed batik clothes are extremely egalitarian in Accra since both street vendors and socialites wear it.

In streets, you can see gorgeous synthesis of traditional and modern fashion.

Let me show you the different fabrics which exist here in Ghana:

  • BATIK

One of the homemade fabrics is called BATIK:

P1020035

Esther is known to have the best batiks in Accra. She uses beautiful colours and patterns in her handmade batik prints.

She also propose to expat women to batik workshops with Esther at her home in Madina. Accra Accueil propose this activity with both mother and children. I did it and it takes about 3 hours to create your own batik to take it home !

As you can se below, you choose your  shapes of the different patterns you want to put on your fabric. After, the fabric is flooding to be dyed  into a barrel :

shapes for batiksbatik colourbatik homemade accra

At the end, you just have to wait that it is dried to take it home!

It is such a typical activity to discover !

  • WAX

In the late XIX , Wax was copied by english and dutch settlers in Indonesia from Java Island wax. They learned and reproduced  wax process and changed with vibrant colours. Then  it is said that ghanian soldiers working in Indonesia brought wax back to Ghana.

“African wax prints” are omnipresent and common materials for clothing in Africa and Ghana since 70’s. In Togo, this business done by women in the 70’s called “Nanas Benz” (because they had Mercedes Benz car), was very successful  .

They are industrially produced with  colorful cotton cloths with batik printing. Unfortunately, more and more chinese fabrics kills the original and local african market…

Normally, the fabrics are sold in 12 yards as “full piece” or 6 yards as “half piece”. The colors comply with the local preferences of the costumers. Mainly clothing for celebrations is made out of these.

Here is a shop selling wax, in a market such as Makola in Accra :

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • KENTE

Kente is one of the most typical symbol . It is an Asante ceremonial cloth, representing numerous aspects of Ghanaian ethical, philosophical, social and religious heritage through variations in colour and pattern.

Although machine made kente is now widely available, it is still reserved for formal occasions. The dramatic colour and texture in kente is echoed in wax-printed fabric. Kente are sold in malls and in markets.

I also discovered the procesing steps with Accra Accueil activity :

First , they have to prepare the fabric thread :

P1050764P1050765

Then, they have to woven the fabrics all handmade:

P1050772

How Ghanaian women get dressed is essential for funerals, weddings and engagements which all require specific dresses.

P1020075
Thomas whith its typical ghanaian costume (for “friday wear”)

Most women employ a seamstress and choose a style from a ‘calendar,’ a poster showing photographs of models in outfits. These designs are usually variations of the kaba (blouse) and slit (long skirt), a common ensemble.

Yvonne koné

There is no lake of design in Accra. More and more people design exciting wax print garments.

At the moment, western silhouettes in traditional fabrics are very much in vogue.

Europeans expat are more an more wearing also these beaytiful fabrics and they make different as a  pure, shoes, and even earings!

Sewing is a lucrative business so you’ll find a seamstress operating an old-fashioned foot-operated Singer sewing machine in any busy area.

Here is one I saw in Madina market :

P1020067

 

Seamstresses tend to be very talented and they can interpret a western design or copy an existing dress. If the customer provides her own cloth, her dress usually costs between  8 GHC (2€) and 10GHC.

For expatriates, the prices are not the same but still very cheap .

First you have to buy the fabric (wax)  you love :

  • Woodin shop in Accra Mall is my best place because it guarantee a great value for money (100GHC -23 €-for 6 yards).
  • Vlisco is also another dutch company (created in 1846) but with higher prices (60 € for 6 yards).

Both patterns and prints  inherit from the African culture. Loincloth wax is also a means of communication to show political or social value.

Know that if you see one day the fabric you like, you should buy it right now because next time it will be finish ! Collections are renew very often!

Afterwards, ou have to find your seamstress to create for exemple 6 pillows for 10 GHC each (2,5€) , a dress for 40 GHC (10€), a short shirt sleeves for 30 GHC.

It was fantastic and well done !   Here is one of my skirt below :

P1020017

Hope you will enjoy coming to Accra and buy some fabrics from GHANA MARKETS !

 

Welcome to Ghana ” Akwaaba” !

DEAR READERS, AKWAABA !!! (WELCOME !!!)

Here are short direct information you should know about Ghana:

You can go to Ghana wikipedia information “Routard” french travel guide , Lonely planet Guide to know more.

The Republic of Ghana, located in West Africa along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, is a sovereign unitary presidential democracy.  It has a population of approximately 27 million, with different ethnic people, languages and religions.

  • DEMOGRAPHY

98% of ghanaian are Black Africans. In 2010, most of the 24.2 million inhabitants were predominantly citizens of the Ashanti territories.

The Government of Ghana states that the official language of Ghana is English, and is spoken by 67.1%. However, there are 11 other ethnic languages (Twi, Fente, Gâ, Mossi…).

In 2010, 71% were Christian (29% are Pentecostal, 18% Protestant and 13%Catholic). In 2013, 18% were Muslims. Traditional (indigenous) beliefs are also practiced.

Life expectancy is 65 years old. Ghana has a universal health care system strictly designated for Ghanaian nationals, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)Ghana’s universal health care system has been described as the most successful healthcare system on the Africa continent by the renowned business magnate and tycoon Bill Gates. As of 2012, the HIV/AIDS prevalence was estimated at 1.40% among adults aged 15–49.

  • GEOGRAPHY

carte ghana routard

Its  geography,  since Ghana is located in West Africa along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic ranges from coastal savannahs to tropical jungles.

Grasslands mixed with south coastal shrublands and forests dominate. But Ghana has also plains, waterfalls, low hills, rivers, Lake Volta (the world’s largest artificial lake).

=> You will see trough my “week end pleasures” category (in the expatriation part) some articles with photos of all theses landscapes!

 

 

  • CLIMATE

The climate of Ghana is tropical and there are two main seasons: the wet season and the dry season. Go and see more photos in the “Kiss the seasons Goodbye” part of my blog.

 

  • ECONOMY

Ghana’s economy prosperity is the 9th-largest power on the Africa continent. It has an economic plan target known as the “Ghana Vision 2020″to become a developed country between 2020 and 2029.

It produces petroleum and natural gas and export them, (it has the 5th  largest oil reserves and 6th largest natural gas reserves). 

akosombo dam
Akosombo dam

It is the 7th and 9th world’s largest gold and diamond producer, and tends to become the biggest cocoa producer in the world. It also produces coffee, bananas, pineapple, coconuts, yam,  cashews and  rice.

 

The Akosombo Dam, built on the Volta River (and others) provide hydropower.

 

 

contruction ghanaThe real estate and housing market of Ghana has become an important and strategic economic sector, particularly in Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Tema. The gross rental income tax of Ghana is withheld at 10%.

Ghana ‘s good economy has given birth to a boom in the construction sector generating billions of dollars/year  and a robust political stability.

 

  • TRADE AND EXPORTS

 

Tema and Takoradi Harbour
Ghana is one of the fastest growing and expanding shipping industry in West African Coast.

Tema harbour is Africa’s largest manmade harbour and with Takoradi harbour they handle goods and exports for Ghana. It is  where goods are transhipped by cargo. They export mostly cocoa,  manganese, diamant, gold, wood, aluminium.

  • EDUCATION

With over 95% of its children in school, Ghana currently has one of the highest school enrolment rates in all of Africa.

  • CULTURE

I speak about culture in several categories (food, typical things, places to visit…) in my Ghana part.

bandeau ghana cult

 

Which transport to choose in Accra?

TRANSPORT IS ACCORDING TO WHERE YOU GO AND PRICES !

There are differents possibilities to go where you want… Know that Accra’s roads are chaotic. It seems to function on one huge game of ‘chicken’ and whoever has the wits, wins. Saying that, at rush hour (between 6am and 8am in the morning and 4-7pm in the afternoon), traffic grinds to a halt in most areas downtown.

 

  • Tro-Tro

trotro1Tro-Tro’s is the cheapest way of public transportation in Accra.  It’s a shared taxi on a fixed route and you can get off where you want. Toyota Hiace is the most used vehicle, but similar minivans are also used. The car has a driver and a man who collect the money and shout out of the windows to get hold of new customers.
Most drivers of Tro Tro’s has an aggressive way of driving, and are therefore involved in more traffic accidents than other drivers. Since this is the cheapest way of transportation (1,5 Ghana cedis).

 

  • Buses

Intercity buses, known as STC (State Transportation Corporation) in Accra ares a cheap, but slow way of transportation but safe for tourists. Many of the buse1-Accra-taxi-and-buss are wrecks, loaded with passengers. Unlike the Trotro’s you can not leave the bus where you want on the route, but have to wait to bus station. Buses heading west and north leave from Obetsebi-Lamptey Circle station, while Tudu station at the north end of Makola Market serves those going east. These buses usually have stops within the city centre, so it is possible to take them to get around.

 

  • Taxis

Taxi-drivers1-620x400Taxis in Accra are easy to recognize with their yellow color on each side of the car. In theory they use a meter to calculate the fare, but in real life you should always settle the price before you enter the car. A short trip should costs from 3 Ghana cedis (GH¢), like within the center of town. Going from airport to downtown should be around 10-15 GH¢, in 2016), . Beware that most drivers will try to overcharge an obruni (a white man), so do a firm negotiation.

I tried to find one taxi who agreed to come to fetch me every mornings to bring me to work from Airport to East Legon (it is about 10 GH¢). Unfortunately,  they never came! And I still don’t understand why! So don’t believe them if they say they ‘ll be there… You will have to find another one in a hurry!

  • Hiring a car

Cars can still be hired, should you want to brave the roads. All the regular suspects are here and most have an office in the airport, and agents around the city. All major hotels will have an agent too. All hotels will also be able to recommend a trusted driver who will drive you around for the day or length of your stay. This is surprisingly popular at around GH¢15 an hour. Ghana is a left-hand drive country and a current international driving licence is required. Drivers bringing vehicles into Ghana require a ‘carnet de passage’ and international insurance.(Avis: 199 Soula Loop, Labine, Accra, +233 302 761 752, http://www.avisghana.com and Europcar 12th floor, Heritage Tower, West Ridge, +233 302 665 544, http://www.europcar.com).

First steps at arrival : registrations, associations, mobile…

 

AT LAST!! YOU LANDED IN GHANA !! 

 

plane ghana

HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR BEGINNING A NEW EXPAT LIFE 😉

 

 

tips k

 

WHICH STEPS FOR REGISTERING IN YOUR NEW COUNTRY ?

Foreign Bureaucracy are often the Devil !! (Although we are not very good at it in France  neither, you may be thinking …. !!!  ).

Apartment, check. Now that you have the basics down, keep in mind that there are many countries whose government offices move at a slower pace. This is when you learn patience !

Keep these tips in mind as you traverse your new home and go to your embassy as the French Ghana Ambassy :

Be sure to have your visa in order. Know where the government offices are and know how long a wait each appointment requires. Most importantly though, bring a book, try not to get frustrated at all the red tape!

The french ambassy address: 12th road off Liberation Avenue, PO Box 187, Accra
Tel: (00) 233 (0) 302.21.45.50

Why register to the ambassy?

In order to benefit from all ambassy services and to be secured during your expatriation here. It is free and it will facilitate administration formalites (such as having a new passport, identity cad, driven license). You will receive by email important information (such as staying home because of a big storm !! ).  You can also be on the electoral list.

How to register?

2 options are possible according to your stay lenght

1st, less than 6 months :  you can tell the ambassy you’re here and give them contacts where you stay and the one to call in France if there is a problem

2nd, more than 6 months : you have to show your ID, your french nationality and where you live now in Ghana. You will then get a card which prooves you live here now. It will be indispensable if you need to be repatriated for illness for exemple.

How to register for citizen a Non -citizen resident ID?

You have to go to register for your Non-citizen ID to have your permit to stay in Ghana if you are a foreign national permanently resident in the country.

You can find infomation in foreigner identification website. It cost about 100€ and a scratch card must first be bought from any Cal Bank branch then the registration process start with a registration form about your personal information and biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) are then taken. Applicant is then instantly issued a Non-citizen card which signifies the completion of the registration process.

It takes me about 15 mn if there is no waiting queue.

 

tips k

 

HOW AND WHERE TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS DURING EXPATRIATION?

 

Now that you have a nice apartment, you’re starting to want someone to share your adventures!!The problem is, you don’t have the smallest idea where to make new friends!!
During your time in high school and college, having a group of friends was relatively easy. You were all the same age, participated in the same activities, and grew up in the same area.

When you are expatriate, this is different.

You’re out in the real world and meeting people in a new city and country means taking on a whole new approach to friend making. If you’re working at a company or school, then your friends will likely be your new coworkers.

If not, then the whole “friend thing” becomes a lot more complicated. You don’t want to live in your Facebook past but you’re unsure of how to continue in your overseas future.

Before you retreat into a cavern of loneliness and despair, give these following tips a try:

  • Join an expat organization

Give online friends a whirl. Bloggers are great people to know and tend to be in touch with their community. I advice you to join an online expat organization such as Accra expat and Internations organization. Do a quick search for people writing about your area and see if you can arrange to meet for coffee. Check for local meetups, expat get-togethers, or Couchsurfing events. Of course, make sure to meet up in public areas the first couple or times.
There is comfort in familiarity and while you’re on a grand overseas adventure, it can be wonderful to talk with a group of people from your home country.  

Before I left France, I had already searched on internet some expat and french organisation. I had found “Accra Accueil” which deals with meeting others, doing activities and sharing passions, discovering the city… It was perfect for the beginnings.

  • Take a class in something you’re passionate about!!

i loveWhether it’s cooking, sewing, dancing, painting, yoga, or language you’re sure to meet people who have similar interests as you.

In accra there are yoga lessons, zumba, pilate, massage….

I will give you the internet adresses in  my blog  expat activities  part.

tips k

FINDING MOBILE TELEPHONE AND INTERNET ACCESS AT HOME

 

 

Internet access 

You can register like me to  Vodafone and get internet in one day. You need your telephone number (of the last owner of your appartment) and your ID.

In February 2016, for 85 GHC (21€) you get 20 GB and for 125 GHC  you get 40 GB. I got my new internet box and they came to install it in 10 minutes at home free. It is the first internet access but if for downloader it will be 250 GHC and for an office access 400GHC).

See below the internet penetration and use in Ghana, Africa and in all over the world… interesting, no?

2000px-MobileBroadbandInternetPenetrationWorldMap.svg

internet

Mobile 

Due to the unreliability of fixed-line infrastructure in Ghana, mobile phones are more widely used. The poor call quality of mobile phones, however, means that more people hold more than one mobile phone, usually with two or more different carriers. The various mobile carriers in Ghana have each been assigned a network code.

I ‘ve chosen Vodafone, I bought a new sim car for 5 cedis (1 €) and get a new samsung phone for 400 cedis (100€). Here are the other operators and emergency tel numbers.

For 10 cedis (2,5€) I can recharge it. Calling France is very cheap : with 10 cedis I can call at least 40 mn!!

Mobile Carrier Network Code(s)
Globacom (023)
MTN (024), (054), (055)
Tigo (027), (057)(029)
Expresso (028)
Vodafone (020), (050)
Airtel (026), (056)

Emergency Numbers

Institution Emergency code
Police 191
Fire Service 192
Ambulance 193

 

world-of-mobile-phones
“Green part” in Africa => population with no mobile
shops in Ghana.
We found 132 companies

Airtel Ghana (Head Office)

Bharti Airtel, No. 30 Independence Avenue, GNAT Heights, North Ridge, Accra
Airtel Ghana We are more than a communication network (of voice and data services); we are a life-enriching network. Airtel Ghana had about 1.76 million customers at the end of 2010.

Company Location

2 Reviews

Web Mall GH

Mango Tree Avenue, Asylum Down, Accra
Web Mall GH is a Virtual Mall hosting sellers across Ghana that have thousands of items. Just like a Mall with the largest selection of electronics, home furnishings, video games, baby gear and more

Company Location

KAB-FAM GHANA LIMITED

#15/17 Otaten-Darkuman Junction, Off the Kaneshie-Odorkor Highway (Near MTN), Accra. P. O. Box MP 4080, Mamprobi-Accra., Accra
KAB-FAM GHANA LIMITED is an Electronics and Home Appliances trading company incorporated in Ghana in May 2013. We are Authorised Partners of quality brands such as Samsung, Midea, and Nasco. We are pr…

Company Location

iSHOP Ghana

34 Off Pigfarm Accra Newtown Road, Accra
At iSHOP Ghana, we’re passionate about Quality. That’s why you’ll find some of world’s most quality products on our page. Since the inception, we’ve built our reputation on devoting our efforts to bri…

Company Location

Franko Phones

Franko Trading Ent, Behind Costa Forex Bureau Adabraka, Accra
FrankoTrading Enterprise is a private company dedicated to providing high quality Mobile phones, Phone accessories, Laptops, Scanners, and Digital Cameras etc. Exceeding customer’s expectation as well…
1 Reviews

APPLE HOME COMMUNICATION

ELAJO, Accra
GIVING A PERFECT SERVICE ANYWHERE IN GHANA. WE HAVE WHAT IT TAKE TO BE A MOBILE PROVIDER, WE PROVIDE YOU WITH ANY KIND OF MOBILE PHONE ANY WHERE IN GHANA. CALL US NOW AND EXPERIENCE OUR ORIGINAL PRODU…

Company Location

Glo Mobile Ghana Ltd

No. 4, Adjumah Crescent, South Industrial Area, Kaneshie, Accra
At Globacom we esteem our vision. It is our vision which keeps us moving forward. Our vision which pushes us to be the best we can. And our vision which propels us into the future, ahead of our compet…

Company Location

2 Reviews

Telefonika Ghana Limited

P.O.Box AC 697 Art Center , Accra
Telefonika is a telecommunications company, trading in mobile phones and accessories, telecommunication equipment, electronic products, gadgets and general goods. We pride ourselves to our attention t…

Company Location

Freddies Corner

Behind Holy Gardens Police Station, Kwame Nkrumah Circle, 15229, Accra
Freddies Corner. A Local Retail & Wholesaler of Mobile Phones, Computers & Accessories. We also offer Phone Repairs, Decoding, Unlocking & Flashing, Sale of Local CDs & VCDs as well as Laptop Software…
1 Reviews

Commtech Solutions Ltd.

Haatso, Accra
Home to unique IT/Telecommunication products & e services.

Company Location

Vodafone Ghana Head Office

Vodafone Ghana Head Office is located near the Ariport Round-about., Accra
Vodafone in Ghana is one of the latest additions to Vodafone Group Plc, the world’s leading mobile telecommunications company. This follows the successful acquisition of 70% shares in Ghana Telecommun…