Celebrating 10 Years of Living in Ghana

This week, I have a major life anniversary: 10 years of living in Ghana! On April 17th, 2007, I stepped on the Kotoka tarmac in Accra with two big suitcases, and was hit by a hot wind of promise. 

And Chale, Ghana has delivered…

(Our wedding slideshow has more than 21 000 views!)

But despite worldly successes, the transition from a cold, Scandinavian country to a hot Tropical one has not always been easy. In my home of 10 years, I continue to be an outsider who hear “Welcome!” every single week. While I smile and say “Thank you!”, it hurts to know I can never fully be accepted here. I often say “I am a 7-8-9, now, 10-year-old in this context…” and I like that image as it often accurately reflects how much – or how little –  I understand of my surroundings. Many things (traditions, greetings, events, ideas, relationships, ends of relationships) here still surprise me, actually surprise me more than during the early days in Ghana.

In addition, 10 years away has made me start to feel like a stranger in Sweden. Swedish politics, fashion, topics for discussion throw me off, makes me raise my eyebrows. While I can walk the streets in Sweden totally blending in…ok, maybe not when I sport my colourful wax print in the sea of black, gray, and beige…but, at least, without hearing anyone welcoming me, I increasingly feel like a stranger who look around with a surprised face. I am reminded of what a family friend who grew up somewhere else said about living a life abroad: “soon, you don’t belong anywhere”.

Missing being close to my Swedish family is unfortunately a feeling that grows with time.

I am not saying the above because I want to complain, no! Life in Ghana for 10 years has undoubtedly been good to me,  or else I would not have stayed. My dreams have come true! But life in Ghana is not just good, rather it is continuously the adventure of my life.

I am still thinking of how to mark this milestone, if you have ideas, write a comment below. Thanks!



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  1. Happy celebration 🙂

    Ghana’s energetic vibe and atmosphere is truly something out of this world. Even after coming(back) to Egypt four years ago I still have a piece of me behind in Ghana.

    Enjoy the celebratory banku 😉

  2. The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams. Kramar från grannen i Brissund

  3. 10 years in Ghana !!!..wow, very impressive…how have u manage to do that…the food, weather, Ghana man time, lackadaisical attitude of my Ghanaian brothers, etc.??

  4. So happy to hear from you, Abdelrahman, and so interesting to hear about how the beat of Ghana stays with people who lived here. Wishing you a wonderful week!

  5. The laid back nature of life in Ghana? Yeah, its tough to carry 😉 Thanks for your comment, Stephen.

  6. a party at Tea Baa, with some high-life and jazz gigs.
    Dress code: colorful Ghanaian/wax clothes 🙂

    nice blog post! thanks for sharing your experience 🙂
    greetings from Italy

  7. I loved the choice of music in the wedding slideshow. Absolutely perfect for this amalgamation ??

  8. Congratulations on your 10 year stay in Ghana. You really have accomplished a lot in these 10 years. You have really done well surviving the heat and dumsor.

    Because of the different tribes and the difference in culture among them it is not surprising that you still don’t understand fully some of the traditions, culture etc. In most cultures in Ghana when you visit them at home or in their cities they will say you are welcome. And they do that to every visitor not because you are white. Its just the culture and there are variations in how they do it. The Ewes will shout you are welcome even before they offer you a seat whereas the akans will offer you a seat first and a drink before welcoming you. But it can all be confusing sometimes. For example I am half Ewe and half Akan and there is difference in the way they react to things like visitors, death, funeral etc and I get confused sometimes so when I switch between cultures I always have someone with me I can consult to ensure I react in a culturally acceptable manner especially when dealing with the local people. If I have to go through that then I can imagine it will be more confusing for you.

    I hope you find a memorable way to mark the milestone. I am sure you have enough material in your journals to write a best selling book