More and more children of the African Diaspora are uprooting their lives, returning to Africa and continuing a legacy interrupted by the TransAtlantic Slave trade. As a Ghanaian-American writing this from Ghana, West Africa, I can confirm that although repatriating back to Ghana has not been a walk in the park, it is definitely a dream come true. I came back to Ghana to have calamity, escape the violence of the western world, eat well and contribute to the rising creative economy.
Living in Ghana, I have the privilege of waking up in the tropics every day, eating natural foods and experiencing a peace of mind I didn’t have access to while living in West Philadelphia. A Philly girl at heart, I am still learning how to balance the unspoken cultural nuances of Ghana, making new friends and leveraging my skills and passions to create an ideal lifestyle.
2019 has been declared the ‘Year of Return’ by Ghanaian president Nana Akuffo Addo, and many people of the diaspora have come from far and wide to experience the jewels of Ghana and reconnect with their heritage.
If you want to visit Ghana, have visited Ghana and want to return, are thinking about repatriating to Ghana or even flirting with the idea of it, you’ve arrived at the perfect place. With this survival guide to repatriation to Ghana, I invite you to join me on this Back to Africa movement as Africa calls her dispersed seeds home.
1. Operation Collect Them Coins
It is very important to have your finances in check before moving to Ghana. Calculating all of your expenses, including housing, food, transportation, and a lump sum to sustain yourself would be helpful. If you are renting, most renters take 1 or 2 years rent at a minimum. If I had known how rare it is to find month-to-month rent before coming, I would have prepared better financially. The currency rates fluctuate but currently, for Americans, the rate is about 5.59 Ghana cedi to 1 US dollar. If you are in the United States or another country, it is helpful to check the exchange rates every once in a while to know how many cedis you will be coming with.
2. Create Your Own Income
Because employment in Ghana is difficult to find, creating your own income streams would be an excellent source of empowerment. There are many opportunities in Ghana, plenty needs to be filled and jobs to be created. Combining your passion with profit to solve needs of the community is beneficial to you and society! #IssaWinWinSituation I struggled with finding employment initially. I reached out to all my contacts in Ghana, scoured for opportunities online and did cold calls months in advance of my arrival. After arriving to Ghana, I undertook informational interviews and continued reaching out to companies. It took me six months to find employment and I am extremely lucky to have a job that fits my interest of multimedia storytelling. I am grateful for my network! #MajorKeyAlert In the interim, I got by through developing my own business, and now, I am working to continue watering my garden for future prosperity. Entrepreneurship runs Africa. You will find many street sellers hustling on the roads of Ghana. You can buy almost anything off the street from a hawker— straight from the car. Gum, rugs, apples, phone credit, plantains, headphones, phone chargers, books, kids toys… I could go on! Lol
3. Demystify The Movement
In many ways, Ghana is magical. The ital food comes straight from the ground and is filled with minerals that strengthen the body, mind and spirit. The colorful culture, untapped market and growing creative economy are just some of the diamonds. The tropical climate nourishes your nostrils and the familial structure means there are no strangers. This can be a positive or negative thing depending on the circumstance. It is helpful to research Ghana customs, cultures and structural issues. Ghana is a developing country, which means things like sanitation, roads and government resources are critical issues. If you have Ghanaian friends, learning more about customs from them could be an interesting experience. It is also beneficial to research on visas, citizenship attainment and African disporan experiences in Ghana.
There is a growing community of people of the African Diaspora who are coming together to build, campaigning for better resources and create new friendship and business links. Some of these diaspora groups include Ahaspora, Seeds of Diaspora on Facebook, African American Association of Ghana, Caribbean Ghana Association, H.E.R. Collective and Bureau of African Diaspora Affairs (BADA).
5. Take A Leap of Faith!
I left my friends and community to join Ghana, and it can be lonely sometimes but I am honestly enjoying my life here so much. I am gradually building my foundation, finding community and solidifying my niche as a storyteller. Because my father is from Ghana I have an advantage and some cushioning, so I express gratitude to the creator and hope to be a beacon of support for potential expatriates of the diaspora.
Ghana will benefit immensely from the added contributions of diasporans, who are bringing jobs, human capital and a unique love for the country. Diasporans, where y’all at? Ghana is waiting for you.
I hope this post was helpful. Thank you for stopping by, make sure to check out the Asiedua’s Imprint shop for authentic, unique Ghanaian items. We also do custom orders. Are you considering repatriating to Ghana or visiting for the Year of Return? What questions do you have about repatriating to Ghana? Comment below.