This piece is for all the newbie Ghanaians wanting to come to abrokye. I thought I would give you a guide and tell you what your relatives probably wouldn’t even think of telling you.
First of all, when you get here, if you’re feeling homesick and missing those home comforts (waakye, kenkey, people speaking the Akan language, a row of churches etc..), you need to find a place with the word “ham” and their environs. That is East HAM (East London), TottenHAM (North London) or PeckHAM (South London). The only exception to the rules are Hackney & Dalston (East London) and Brixton/Croydon (South London), however they have become what we called in the 80’s, yuppiefied. Yuppie’s were the up and coming youths with a lot of cash to burn, since the 2012 Olympics, these cats have taken up residence forcing our Ghanaian brethren to seek more affordable housing in Essex, although you will find that they are also “hams”, that is RainHAM and DagenHAM.
Travelling in and around London is quite expensive, when I left, a monthly travel pass for zones 1 – 4 (so the whole of London) was around £80, it is now £177. Our Mayor of London feels that this isn’t an issue, but I never really thought much of Boris Johnson and I may have a libel suit on my hands if I talk about him any further, so you will find that the bus may be more suitable for a newbie in town. The trains and the underground, although not cheap, get you to your destination fast and you are less likely to get lost around town because there are maps plastered everywhere. Just like the tro-tro, if you want to use the must cheaper means of travel, you will have to get up a bit early and although the bus will tell you where you are going, you may have to ask a passer-by which bus to take if you are going to travel from one end of London to the other.
I remember back in the day, when a cousin of mine used to come over to work, his friend would set of rather early to get from South London to East London by bus. We live close to the underground and so my cousin’s method of cost saving was to wait until after 5 and pick up an unwanted travel card that had been discarded on the station floor. Unfortunately now, just like everything else, you have to top up on an electronic card, so either you add a travel pass to your monthly budget or you find inhabit yourself close to town so you can walk.
Jobs in London, well the population in town is almost 9 million, my sister told me that to be a receptionist nowadays you need a 2:1 (2nd class upper) degree and well you know my situation, all I can tell you is that it’s hard, but it is not impossible. You will need a National Insurance card and a bank account. That too is not so easy to obtain. All I can advise is that, if you are coming over for financial gain, pray that those around you are trust worthy. You would be surprised that your own relative may charge you for the use of their assets. At the same time, thanks to a few Nigerian scam artists, the banks pay close attention to any black person with an accent, so don’t go off on a frolic of your own, think you are smart and open an account without the aid of a local. You may find yourself in hot water if you don’t have all the necessary documentation.
So that’s all for today, if I have any more pearls of wisdom for you newbie’s thinking of coming over or are here I will let you know, or drop me a line, I am here to help.
Before I go, in terms of buses, here they are not the Benz buses, they are red, either double decker or long and bendy. If you do however see a bus with the Prime Minister’s face on it, do not enter as it only goes to one destination. Heathrow Airport….
Bye for now…
Haha – hilarious but so true! I spent a while in Ghana and found a little Ghanaian community for my koliko and joloff rice addictions! Great blog 🙂