“Bibia be ye ye”
By 6AM in Accra the sun is shining. You can already feel yourself sweating and the hustle of the city has begun. Some mornings you will be woken by the tinkling tunes of the garbage trucks that could easily be mistaken for an ice cream van. (Don’t jump out of bed in excitement – you won’t get the tasty treat you are looking for). Other days you may be woken up by an over eager rooster or the barking of one of the many stray dogs.
Many of the roads in Accra are simple dirt tracks. They will turn your feet a dusty orange colour that when left unwashed could be mistaken for a tan. There are goats and chickens on every street corner. Shops are made from wooden shacks or storage containers and sell anything and everything and play the same 5 songs on repeat at full volume throughout the day. Unaccompanied small children play with tyres on the road shouting “Obroni” (white person) just to get your attention. The women, dressed in beautifully bright handmade clothes. Easily juggling carrying goods on their head, carrying a baby on their backs and gossiping with friends. Every body is friendly. When greeted with a “Good morning” or “How are you” the correct response is always “I’m fine”.
There are of course plenty of frustrations. The feeling of being constantly sweaty from the relentless 30 degree heat. The power cuts that you can never predict. The unpredictable WiFi connection that can either be faster than lightning or slower than a snail the next. Or the constant suffering from the relentless mosquitoes that bit you the previous nights.
You may spend hours in traffic, stuck on a packed trotro (a mini bus that often looks like it is no longer road worthy but still continues to work day in and day out). You learn to love buying plantain chips, pure water or phone credit out of the window or politely declining the marriage proposal from the man who has just proclaimed his undying love for you. The yellow marked taxi’s will relentlessly blow their horns at you whilst you are walking down the street in a bid to be the one to take you to your next destination. They will proceed to do everything they can to avoid any police barriers so the white people in the car won’t have to pay any bribes.
You will eat a lifetime’s worth of the best tasting chicken. Dairy products (particularly cheese) will become a luxury. The street food is a must! From fresh coconuts and sugarcane juice, pineapples and mangoes, avocado and roasted plantain or jollof rice and Red Red all available for less than £1.
There are 1000 ways to love the life that you will live in Accra.You may have to look beyond the gutters full of plastic and the occasional frustrations and embrace the simple and beautiful pleasures of day to day life. We know you are going to love it here!