You must be patient because it won’t happen over night! As an expat in Ghana there will be many challenges to face, even though Ghanaians speak British English, there may still be a language barrier especially if you are not British. Many Ghanaians speak Twi (chree), Ewe, or Ga along with English and a Pidgin English sort of like Jamaican patois, or American Gullah or Cajun. I speak American English and feel that I articulate well in it, but it’s not what we speak it’s the way we phrase things that might be the language barrier. For instance, one day I was speaking to a driver who had arrived to pick me up from a local coffee shop and from where I was standing outside I could clearly see him in front of me but he was looking ahead out of the front window. Over the phone I asked him, please back up. He didn’t understand what I meant so I repeated it a few times, until frustrated I asked my friend a local Ghanaian to ask him to back up, my friend said a couple words over the phone and the driver began moving back. I asked him, a bit embarrassed, well what did you say? He said, I told him to come back, and it was just as simple as that!
Learn to speak Twi. My goal is to learn to speak Twi, and although I have learned some words and phrases I regret that to date I haven’t taken as much time to do this as I should. It will be my focus in the upcoming weeks. Particular words will come easy and be in your every day speech, but speaking Twi fluently will come in time. Here are some common words you will come to know.
- Daabi means no (Is a good word to know when dealing with street hawkers.)
- Aane means yes
- Akwaaba means You are welcome
- Medaase means thank you
- Ɛtɛ Sɛn (greetings how are you?)
- Ɛyɛ (is the response means fine)
Invest in Ghana. If you plan on being a citizen, I opened a bank account with Fidelity Bank and invested in treasury bonds. Treasury bonds are short term notes that have a 91-Day or 3 month Treasury Bill, 182-Day or 6 month Treasury Bill, 365-Day or 1 year Treasury Bill maturity rate. Treasury bonds are money market instruments Governments use to borrow money from its citizens for development purposes, and they pay well. Also, find reputable local Ghanaians to assist you in business deals it helps the economy and it helps you in the long run.
Buy local home use furniture. It’s not bad and it helps the local economy as well. Its inexpensive and cuts down on cost, unless you are able to afford luxury. It also helps you to support local Ghanaian business, you may sacrifice comfort though.
Consider opening an NGO. An NGO is a non-Government Operation ran much like a not-for-profit in the USA. This is advice that I was given by a few American expats in Ghana as well as a few Ghanaians themselves, however this isn’t something that I have done myself, so I do not know the cost of opening or running an NGO but will research this and have more about this later. Keep following me.