port of harlem magazine
Ebenezer AME Church - Ghana 2020 trip
What Nobody Tells You About Moving to Ghana as an African-American or Caribbean Returnee
May 07 – May 20, 2020

I’ve always wanted to move to Ghana. I fell in love with the people and the place on my first visit there in 1989. My father had always told me that we were from the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast, he said, was where our people came from before the carry beyond. We had been brought to Jamaica on ships long ago, but we were Ashanti people, he said. I had no idea where in Africa the Gold Coast was exactly - until I landed in Ghana on that first trip.

“You are strong in face and black like us,” my host, Mister Yawson said. “You are Ashanti - Kumasi people.” That’s when the penny dropped. I have lived ever since with a dream of returning where, in going back, there would be no loss. I would never have physically relocated, however, had I not landed a dream job in Accra with a multinational advertising agency in 2011. Below are some of the things I’ve learned in my six years of living and working among Ghanaians. Here is what no one will tell you about moving to Ghana as an African-American, a person of Caribbean heritage, or anyone else for that matter.

. . .

I miss the smiling faces of random men, my many soul brothers. I miss waking each morning knowing that I’ll see the whole gamut of black life from the cradle to the grave. I miss kids I’ve never met before walking pass my open gate, “Good morning” or “good evening,” they’ll say. I miss my dog, Kojo, and the sound of his excited barking as I approached in a cab towards the walled and gated house where he’d been sleeping in the yard.

I say I don’t miss Ghana, but when you come to think of it, there is a lot to miss about the place. From the outside looking in, Ghana always seems very inviting. Once you’re living in it, however, it’s a completely different story. For most people, two weeks on vacation is just about enough to leave them wanting more. And they say they feel so at home.

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Boakye, based in London, has contributed to Port Of Harlem over the decades.  Additional related stories by Boakye:

Land for Sale — Build Your Dream Home in Ghana

Why Africa’s Real Estate Market is Due a Revamp

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