Since I have got back, I have had new traffic to my blogsite, well I say new but people I know (and have possibly wrote about), who have been introduced to the world through Efia’s eyes. I have had comments like “is that what you think of some of us?”
For me, it is nothing personal, I had a greatly idealised version of what my experience would be like in Ghana. I have a great family who always treated me wonderfully when I came on holiday and even when I came to stay, the rest of Ghana, well I would say half and half. I didn’t go to school there, my friends that I had made where friends of my family so at the start I basically came with no other ties apart from the ones I used to spend a couple of weeks out of the year with.
The thing is, as a white person being expatriated to work in the country, I found that although you probably wouldn’t find them at the pub with the local staff every night, they are treated differently. It is like they get this automatic respect. When they come over, the assumption is that they have come over with a wealth of benefit to the country/company so are put on a pedestal.
As a British born Ghanaian, it almost felt like people thought that you somehow failed in “abroad” and had come to Ghana as some kind of booby prize. Some kind of self-deportation. Then added to that, even though your name sounded similar and your face fit, the way you talk, walk, act, all set you miles apart from your home grown colleagues. It was difficult for me to gain trust, if I spoke out against what I saw was injustice I was labelled a “trouble maker”. I wasn’t a regular church goer so deemed a devil child. I spoke my mind so obviously I must smoke weed so they say. The truth is culturally, I was an outsider, and it was difficult for me to show that there was more to me than a cockney accent who preferred a Vodka and Tonic over a bottle of Malt.
That being said, I made some wonderful friends during my time, mainly people who had spent time abroad who understood that when I opened my mouth it was not to cause offence, or be malicious, I am just a little less reserved than the average Ghanaian female. Not only that, I made friends with people with some wonderful non Abrokiyre types through work and family and friends and of course this blog. Even to those who I didn’t always get on with, and probably may have offended through my blog or one of my flyaway comments, life is about improving yourself and you have always made me think twice as to what I can do to become the best I can be.
The funny thing is, that now I have returned, I have become a bit more reserved and a lot more Ghanaian. In turn my British colleagues think that I am too timid, it’s getting better but I can’t say I have any love or trust for most of these people, but I save that story for another day.
In the meantime having this time in Britain has given me time to reflect, evaluate and evolve. What have I learned, well firstly I don’t think I will survive another British winter so I am hoping that it will be my last. Secondly, I had a dream and I had a vision, it wasn’t about a man, or about being rich (although it does help), but it was about making a difference in Ghana. I didn’t know why or if I was ever going to do it, but I had 6 years to assess how, I made my mistakes and I learned from them (I hope). You may think I am crazy, I should take my pounds every month and live in civilised bliss, but I would rather at the very least die trying than to go to my grave wondering what if. So my time back here is to do just that, save and plan and hopefully who knows.
Until the next time