We made it!
I am not going to lie. I was absolutely dreading the 27 hour flight from Sydney to Ghana. We stopped in Singapore, then again in Heathrow for the final leg to Accra. The journey was long and drawn out but the kids were little troopers! To them, it felt like one big movie marathon and my little man (13 months) was happy to snuggle with Mama for the most part.
Once you leave the airport, the heat hits you and swallows you like you have been cooking for days in the kitchen. There is no reprieve, its constant sweat dripping stuff.
We are over the jet lag, eating fufu and plantain like we’ve lived here our whole lives. We’re house hunting and exploring the kids’ new school. Getting spoilt at the in laws house as we settle in.
Thinking back to the flight from Heathrow to Accra, lining up to board the flight, an English/Ghanaian man in front of us struck up a conversation. He had a daughter that looked exactly like my Makeda and was also 4 years old. He was intrigued that we were going to Ghana and even more amazed when he found out we were moving there. He told us that his Wife refused to visit Ghana and would not allow him to take his daughter for fear of Malaria. The closest his daughter would ever get to experience Ghana would be from books and TV. He looked so disappointed, I felt responsible and defaulted to humour, throwing in a light comment that there are a lot worse things that can bite you in Australia. He laughed and said he had seen this on TV.
Now I don’t know these people, I can’t pass judgment, who knows, maybe the Wife has other reasons for not wanting to visit Ghana, but it just got me thinking about how the media just distorts information. We are led to believe Malaria is this deadly disease to be feared. That combined with ignorance just leads to such a small-minded negative view on Africa. I am not playing down the fact that Malaria has killed and it should not be dismissed but lets put it into perspective – millions of people contract Malaria every year, less than 0.5% will die from it, it is easily treatable and curable. Most deaths, tragically, have been young children in remote African areas due to being left untreated. You use your common sense and educate yourself. Take the readily available preventative measures. Malaria is as common as the common cold in Africa and as such, the doctors here are very well experienced so you will receive the best treatment. I just cant fathom how one could spend there life missing opportunities due to “What ifs” that are so unlikely. It’s like someone deciding to not visit Australia for fear of being eaten by a shark – it’s actually a more likely scenario LOL.
I’ve been met with some humorous reactions when people find out I am moving to Ghana. Most commonly people ask me if it is safe. Yes, I would take my children to a country that is completely not safe! Really?! Again, the little focus on Africa that we do get in the media, tends to portray sick starving children, gang violence and people suffering in war torn countries. And there are definitely no go zones in Africa, but in the case of Ghana, it is one of the safest most peaceful nations in the world. In fact, Ghana is ranked 41/163 in the Global Peace Index. Now the United States and Thailand – two very popular holiday destinations, rank 121 and 113 respectively. Nobody questions you when you mention you are holidaying in Thailand. To be honest, I would never take my eyes off my kids in a park in Australia and you can’t tell me that you don’t get weirded out if you spot a random guy hanging around a playground that appears to have no kids with him…how safe do we even feel in our own backyard? Yet the fact remains most people just know very little about any African country.
When it comes to holiday destinations, if your preference is for luxury 5 star resorts then perhaps a trip to Africa is not for you. If you like exploring new cultures, rich experiences and open to moments where you need to live off the grid, then Africa could be the perfect place for your next adventure. And with any trip, you must research the risks and prepare accordingly. Use your common sense and judgement when it is not the right time to wander off the beaten track.
The World Bank has named Ghana as one of the top 10 fastest growing economies in 2018. So why do we not hear more about these positive facts? We chose to move to Ghana not only because we wanted our children to know their roots but also because we are excited for the possibilities, to watch this beautiful country develop and because we want to be part of it. I love seeing how excited the kids are to be here. They don’t see the differences like we do and how quickly they have replaced TV and ipads with collecting snails as “pets”, getting more adventurous with their food, embracing the spices and they haven’t even once asked me about their LOL Dolls *happy dance*
So what's up next? We focus on getting our home set up and ready for our first Christmas in Ghana :)
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The Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand have put together a guide to shopping Fair Trade gifts this Christmas. At this time of year, when consumerism is at it's peak, it is more important than ever to be mindful of the product choices and brands we choose to support.
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