Discovering my driver village: Jericho

  • COMING INTO JERICHO VILLAGE, 30mn FROM TEMA

Few weeks ago, I asked my driver how it wad in his house, how he sleeps, if he had a shower… and I asked him if one day I could see is family and their house in his village.

He was very pleased thatIasked for it and he told me that he would be very proud to show me to his neighbourg in his village : for them, it is showing that he has a good job and is liked by his boss and with “Madam” as he always call me.

Since I’m in holidays right now (french school february holidays), I decided to go there, 30 mn from Tema, about 1 hour drive from Accra.

I prepared a chocolate cake in the morning and brought fruit juices and coke to have snacks with his family after his children school.

When we arrived , I was a bit “scared” because people were looking at me, maybe wondering what I was doing here alone with only Thomas, my driver!!

I think that they can believe that I came here to see them as if it was a zoo…

Thomas spoke to each one when we walked through the village, explaining in his language called” Fanti” why I was here;

On the image above on the right, there is a small shop with some drinks and food and the yellow and green hut is in fact where they buy their tickets to bet in the bingo (loto)… to maybe become rich one day!

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Then , Thomas showed me the rice manufactory at the back of the village.

It is a big production and they sell it afterwards by 25 kg for 80 GHC (18€). It is much less than in Accra Mall!!

See underneath the man working with the machine and the woman “cleaning ” it and separating the scrambled rice, which will be used for other things such as corn flakes.

After this interesting “visit”, we went to see the cultures of wheat, bananes, rice and kasava… located just behind the rice’s manufacture.

They have water coming here to irrigate under the ground it s why it is very green because we did not have rain for 3 months…

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Inside the village, there are animals such as chickens, cows, sheaps… and everybody share their live together!

Women clean their clothes with hands of course… and take water from the back of the village in a channel. It is the same for them to take a shower putting water in a basin.

After that, we went to fetch is second son, Manuel, to the school which is private, always in the village. All students were a purple uniform. It cost 300 GHC for a semester (school fees + books). It is very expensive when you compared it to their wage which is about 450 GHC/month for a driver as Thomas (which is above most of the wages…).

They were so pleased and happy to see me! When I took my camera from my bag, they were shouting and running around me ! Some of them wanted also to touch my arm and were laughing 😉

Then, we went inside his house : there is only one room with a bed, 2 small sofas. All his family sleeps in the same bed : and they are four!!

 He has also a large tv (from 1990 I tkink ;)…) which he could afford when he started to be a taxi drinver years ago. And a frige is just before the entrance of his house.

Then they called their neighbours to share the chocolate cake I made for them. We stayed outside since it was too hot in his house.

People were coming one after the other, sharing in the same glass sometimes juices and coca cola. Some kids coming back from school  took a small piece also.

Thomas’ wife told me that she will “remember all her life this day”.

It is really strange to feel so special to them, and make them happy only to share time and talk with them. We are like them, equal,  but for them, we are different and they are proud to share time to speak with white people in their everyday life and home.

It was a great day for me too, I was happy to see how it is different from expat living conditions…

The last moment together is when I offer  Manuel a little book with stickers to learn the alphabet and they went inside daddy’s car of course 🙂 🙂 🙂

Before driving home, I bought two coconuts (1,5 GHC each : 0,40 €).

Hope you enjoyed visiting their village and “meet” Thomas’ family with me, leave me a comment if you feel like to!

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…. :

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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 :

 

 

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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

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.

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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:

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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 :

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Then, they have to woven the fabrics all handmade:

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

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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 :

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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 :

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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…

Kiss the season goodbye

  • Weather in Ghana

As usual in tropical country (we are close to equator), expatriation in Ghana means to kiss the seasons goodbye…….

equator

 

Accra features a tropical savanna climate that borders on a semiarid climate. You can see the equator is just under Ghana.

The only seasonal change is the switch between dry season  with harmattan and the rainy and humid season.

But it will always be more than 24 ° !

  • SUN:

As Accra is close to the equator, the daylight hours are practically uniform during the year.

The sunrise  is around 6am latest and Sunset around 6pm. There are never clouds and it is always shiny except when the harmattan is coming.

You can see how is the sunrise from Airport area during the harmattan in february 2016 :

AND the nice blue sky during the year : in markets and in the villages …

Tema where it is always sunny even when it is cloudy in the center of Accra city:

P1010559

  • RAINFALL

flooding
Flooding street in Accra

The average annual rainfall is about 730 mm, which falls  during Ghana’s two rainy seasons ( from April to mid-July and october) and causes local flooding in which drainage channels are obstructed.

Precipitation is most likely around June, occurring in 31% of days. Precipitation is least likely in January , occurring in 4% of days.

On March,1st, 2016,  after 3 months without rain… in Accra, we had a “sand storm” coming from Tema.

I was outside in East Legon with a friend eating in a restaurant when the waitress tolds us that this storm was coming… here are the pictures:

We came rapidely inside a room and afterwards wemanage to come into our car to go back home …you can see how was theroad from East Legon to Airport area:

  • TEMPERATURES

Very little variation in temperature occurs throughout the year. The average monthly temperature is between 24.7 °C to 35 °.

Cooler months are more humid and humidity generally high, varying from 65% in the midafternoon to 95% at night. Strong wind gusts occur with thunderstorms often cause damage to property by removing roofing material.

harmattan Ghana
The dusty sky during the harmattan

Warmer months are when there is the windy harmattan season in January. You can see on the right how the sky is.

As to the consequence,  Accra feels “dry heat” when this wind comes from Sahara desert: it lowers the humidity, dissipates cloud cover, prevents rainfall formation and sometimes creates big clouds of dust which can result in duststorms or sandstorms.

Humidity drops to as low as 15%, which can result in spontaneous nosebleeds for some people.

Other health effects on humans may include conditions of the skin, eyes, and respiratory system, including aggravation of asthma.

Hope you will enjoy coming here and discover the tropical weather !!

Leave me a comment!

Checklist before leaving your country… some hints and tips

Here is my checklist before expatriation :

First of all :” check your mind !!”

BE OPEN TO NEW ADVENTURES AND GO FOR IT NOW

CHECKLIST 2 MONTHS BEFORE :

  • Make sure you and your family have valid passports and get your VISA ( through your Diplomatic government)!

visa passport

  • Find out about international driving licenses ( register ont public french service. Most countries will not accept your home country’s license (or for the 3 first months as in Ghana). In ghana, you will have to go to your ambassy (French Ambassy for me) to register and pay about 35 cedis to get a formality paper prooving your frenchdriving license and then you will get it.vaccin
  • Find out if you need vaccinations because you also may need it to enter the country at the airport. Find out in the  Pasteur Institute which vaccinations you need. => For Ghana, yellow fever vaccine is required to enter the country, hepatitis A and B, Meningitis with meningococcirabies are recommended too. There is Malaria also but if you stay in Ghana for expatriation, it is useless to take medecines before leaving doctors will told you. You cant’s take it all over the year so you may get Malaria anyway… Fortunately, few expat get it.

 

CHECKLIST 1,5 MONTH BEFORE

  • Ask your doctors, vet and dentist for copies of yours, your families and your pets’ medical records. While you are at the surgeries, organise a final check up for you, your family and your pets if your employers do not ask it. Don’t forget the vaccination (for me, yellow fever) . Maybe you need to buy 6 months treatment before leaving because you can’t find it in Africa for exemple. So you have to ask the french social security for agreement to deliver. Of course, you will no more belong to it 6 months after your arrival in your host country.To enter with your 6 months medecine, you may be asked to give proof of your need for the medication fohealth carer customs
  • Check all insurance policies and organise your visas if you need to. In my case, my boyfriend’s company did everything for both of us, and now we belong to : an international healthcare insurance card for expatriates called Previnter to have our money back AND “West African Rescue Association” (WARA) which gives 24/7 medical access assistance center. Prices for medical care is very very expensive here.
  • attorneyPrepare a power of attorney (see more on solicitor for french expatriate )Make sure you have certified copies of all important documents ready to hand over to the person you will be leaving in charge of your affairs while you are away. I gave it to my parents for banks and the rent of my apartment.
  • Organise the cancellation of all magazine/newspaper subscriptions or regular deliveries you receive on the day you will be leaving.

 

CHECKLIST 1 MONTH BEFORE