Seven things to know about living in Ghana


DUMSOR: Dumsor, (otherwise translated in Twi, a common Ghanaian language, as “on” “off”), refers to the electricity system in Ghana. Currently they are facing a multitude of challenges that cause unpredictable electricity outages. People without generators are left in the dark; often while walking home in the evenings this can increase robberies. It can be harder to charge laptops and phones, or do other general work necessary with electronic devices. Dumsor is a major challenge in Ghana that people are protesting and constantly discussing.

PEOPLE: People are extremely friendly to foreigners. If you are foreign and living in Ghana, people will shout and scream at you from across buildings, out of car windows, or any time they see you. The typical word for foreigner is “obroni” and it will be heard hundreds of times every day. Generally this behavior is tolerated and even encouraged, and usually it is seen as a polite welcome to the country, however it can at times feel very abrasive.

FOOD: Being a vegetarian in Ghana is extremely difficult. Even for food items that are vegetarian (rice, beans) they tend to add sauce or cook in it something with a fish or meat flavor. If one truly wants to stick to a vegetarian diet, it limits a lot of options for buying ready-made food. You will have to be prepared to buy fresh vegetables and cook in the house.

THE HEAT: It is extremely hot in Ghana, and the dumsor situation does not help. Without sunscreen during the day it is hard to operate, even with sunscreen it is a battle. It is best to avoid going outside between the hours of 11 and 3.

HEALTH: It is never 100% in Ghana. There are frequent health battles your body endures daily, from slightly less well treated food to constant dehydration to being made to eat overly spicy dishes. It seems that no matter the fight one never feels in perfect health while living here. Despite this, there are plenty of days where one can be fully operational.

SHOPPING: Nearly everything can be bought at a bargain, and Ghanaians will drive a hard bargain with foreigners. You can be made to try four or five different shops before someone will give you a reasonable price on an item. Things are sold everywhere on the side of the road and almost everything is negotiable.

FUN: The last thing is fun! Despite the challenges, days where you aren’t feeling well, times when you are tired of being shouted at in the street, mornings when you don’t want to haggle over the price of a shirt, Ghana is incredibly fun. From the scenery to the people, there are so many amazing opportunities you would not want to miss.


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