Expat Magazine

Farewell Ghana - Hello New Adventures

By Holli

Boarding a plane from my suburban Canadian home so manyyears ago, with my three year old little boy, and our few worldly belongings intow, I knew I had chosen adventure, the unknown, the road less traveled. When we touched down in Ghana, West Africa, I was poised fora two year volunteer posting. I had no idea I’d be where I am today, after 16years, about to fly out once again from my mother’s suburban Canadian home, toGrenada, nestled in the Caribbean windward islands, as a starting base, to sailthe world with my true love and soul mate. My boy is grown, Ghana is anomnifarious memory, and the abyss of the unknown lies ahead, and beneath in theendless ocean. _________________________________________________My rearview mirror sees Ghana closer than she appears.Though we left her humid shores over five months ago, my time there was alifetime. Perhaps more.Ghana raised me from the blinding grip of naiveté, helpedmold me, open my sheltered eyes, gave me a new world in which to raise a familyand learn some heart piercing lessons about love and loss.Ghana has been everything to me - from a highschool bully tomy tour guide, my big sister, a boss you can never quite please. Ghana embracedme and showed me her beauty and her scars. I learned to speak Twi with the tomato sellers in Makolamarket and learned to navigate potholes and open gutters with ease. I wasprivileged to be invited into a Ghanaian home and made part of the family – Ilearned the best banku is that made at home on a Saturday afternoon, with allthe aunties and cousins, after a hot day in the market. My boys learned to washtheir school socks with their cousins on Sundays in a singing line up of soapysuds and smiles. I spent so many Sundays sipping local gin n’ juice at Labadibeach with ‘my girls’, serenaded by the glass eating acrobats “Everybodywatch!”. In Ghana I faced corruption and compassion, grit and beauty,poverty and richness in equal measure. It is a beautiful and complicatedcountry. And Ghanaians are proud. They taught me about nationalism and aloyalty I had never known. As a Canadian I had always wondered what our‘culture’ was. Ghanaians know their culture. And they will defend their flag atall times. Ghana has a love affair with soccer (football) and everylittle boy plays – dreaming of following the footsteps of the stars that havepaved their way. Essien, Desailly, Pele, Gyan… the streets literally burst withglee during international matches when Ghana scores or wins – the din of thecheering can be heard across the nation and it’s a magical thing. Being inGhana for the World Cup is an experience I’ll never forget. Truly amazing.Farewell Ghana - Hello new adventuresBut I am not a Ghanaian and no matter how long you live inGhana, how much you love it, if you are not a Ghanaian, you will never be aGhanaian. Ghana is a gracious and glorious host, but as a visitor there comes atime to go.Alas, 16 years past and seasons brought life and love anddeath and change.And the time has come to open another page in the book oflife. It’s time to seek out more languages, more experiences, more countriesand colours and flavours.I invite everyone to find us over in our new abode, SVShiloh, a vessel and a lifestyle, dedicated to the free spirit of my Ghanaianboy who left our world too soon. The new site is called SV-Shiloh: notes fromthe boat.I have vowed to keep track of all the new experiences, thequirks and caverns and catastrophies that travel promises. And I’d love toshare it with all the friends I made in Ghana and beyond, thanks to this blog.Holli has rambled here enough.Ye be hyia biyo (sp?!) Ghana! xoxo

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