5 Things to Bring if You’re Moving to Ghana

Home of the Black Star

So you’re gearing up for your move to Ghana… congrats on making the decision! I’ve been in conversation with quite a few people who have recently been thinking of moving to Ghana. Which is funny, because I’m about wrapping up my time here for now, as I’ll be finally realizing my pipe dream of getting a graduate degree this Fall.

Might as well pass along some useful information as I reflect on my time in Ghana. Bring these 5 things with you and you’ll begin to have an easier time here/

1. Your Favorite Toiletries

I was surprised how many Western goods I was available to find here, courtesy of the Shoprite in Accra Mall, and The Koala Shop in Accra. Don’t get me wrong, as a traveler, I like to contribute to the local economy by purchasing local goods, but some things I can’t do without, like Carol’s Daughter shampoo, Mitchum deodarant, or Eucerin lotion, lol. If you have toiletries you just can’t live with out, I suggest you stock up on them before coming here. I also find, that even if you can find the goods of your choice, they may be more expensive, and you’re better off stocking up before you come.

Toiletries

2. Books, or a tablet

I find that I have way more time here in Ghana, more so than any other country I’ve lived. And I now realize why… constant power outages. As I write this, I just got out of a 12 hour power outage… and it’s pretty common nowadays. You will be bored. Luckily when you arrive here, you should buy a mobile wi-fi device. That will help you survive a blackout for about 4 hours. But when the device runs out, then what? You’ll need books. Lots of them. If you don’t want to bring a ton of books, at least buy an affordable tablet and buy books via Kindle, Nook, etc.

Also, you’ll need it if you’re waiting for meetings to start. Whether a business meeting or an encounter with a friend, get this straight now. PEOPLE WILL BE LATE. All the time. Save yourself a lot of heartache by knowing this now. And it’s amazing how casual people are about being late. I once had a meeting when the person showed up two hours late.  And when the person showed up, you would of thought they would rush over, drenched over in sweat, apologizing profusely. No. Before arriving to where I was, the person started casually speaking to an acquiantance on the other side of the room.

The only thing that kept me from poking two fingers in both of his eyes was to know that I had something to occupy myself with.

What would I do without you?

What would I do without you?

 3. A Flashlight, or a smartphone with a flashlight app

This goes back to the frequent power outages, and it’s a no-brainer. If you get a basic cell phone, you can use the flashlight that comes with that as well. And the great thing about these cheap phones is that you can access the radio as well. This is really cool, because getting the airwaves is not dependent on Internet access. And it’s another way to entertain yourself until the lights come back on.

Don't laugh! A smartphone it is not, but it's a perfect way to re-connect to the radio.

Don’t laugh! A smartphone it is not, but it’s a perfect way to re-connect to the radio.

4. The Skill of Bargaining

Okay, confession. I’ve lived abroad for seven years and have never learned this skill effectively. My time in China didn’t make it any better. It was easy for me to just walk away when I didn’t like the price. And the vendor would would eagerly motion me back to state a lower price, until we were both satisfied. I hardly call this bargaining.

In Ghana, however, you really have to state your case why something should be a certain price. This mostly happens with me in taxis. It’s not enough to just walk away when you don’t like the price. Nah. You really have to make a claim. “Well, there’s not so much traffic… and I usually pay 5 cedis, why are you charging me 8… well if you take this route it will be quicker… I understand the gas prices went up, but that price is ridiculous…” Sometimes you’ll have to spend quite a few minutes doing this, which I can’t stand because I see it as a waste of time. But hey, when in Rome…

You can’t miss these – A taxi in Ghana

Always agree on a price when you get in. No guarantee though. It has happened a few times that when I reach my destination, the price “magically” goes up. I feel compromised and obligated to pay if I’m in front of my home because now this person knows where I live. But if this isn’t the case you can just scoff, pay the price agreed, and get out quickly. Sometimes a driver will hint that price will go up along the way by complaining that where you’re going is “too far.” Even though you clearly told them three times exactly where you’re going. If you see this happening, and it’s late, what you can do is get off before where your destination (make sure to get off where you can easily get another taxi) and take another hopper taxi to your destination.

5.  A Sense of Humor

Living abroad can be taxing. Certain things you’re used to may not “work,” you will miss your family, you will feel isolated, and you will wonder why you even decided to live abroad. Nothing will get you by like a good ‘ole sense of humor.

 

I’ve pretty much brought all of these with me, except for number 4. There was a quick learning curve for me to bargaining effectively. I hope these tips are helpful for your move to Ghana!

 

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2 Responses to “5 Things to Bring if You’re Moving to Ghana”

  1. Efo Dela says:

    Yep u got that right.
    Item number 5 should be in abundance else u won’t be able to deal with many things

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