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An Experienced Backpacker's Experience In Ghana

Are you a foreigner—backpacker, tourist, volunteer, etc— planning to visit Ghana? Or you are a Ghanaian who would like to know what foreigners think about your country?
Well, in the quest to find out what foreigners think about Ghana for a book I was writing, I came across quite a number of foreigners—most of which were Europeans. They touched on a few exciting things that everybody including individuals—who would like to visit Ghana someday—should know about.

One of the foreigners I got to ask a whole lot of questions due to how friendly, cool and open she is, is an experienced backpacker from London who has travelled to over 80 countries including Ghana.

She shared her opinion on almost everything about Ghana; from the friendliness of the locals, the cool music, the food, down to the bad encounters—such as sexual harassment from men—and many others.

Let us take a look at what she said:

Things that are great about Ghana/Ghanaians:

The Music
I love it and I am in awe of how Ghanaian people are so good at dancing, rhythm and knowing a good beat. In England everyone is soooo bad at dancing. I like how there is a big music scene in Ghana and everyone listens to Shatta Wale etc and there is a shared culture in being proud in Ghanaian musicians/artists. I love how there is music just in the street or in random places whereas in England we have a real obsession with noise pollution and how you shouldn't ever make loud noise in public unless you disturb someone. Sometimes I found it too much, i.e preachers with their ridiculously loud speakers or music on Labadi beach and I'm sure that most Ghanaian people are a bit deafer than most people due to the loud sounds they always have to endure!!

The People
People being friendly, hospitable and wanting to make conversation and ask about your country etc
Quite a unique thing about Ghana I noticed was the way people generally speak quite softly and quietly. And the click handshakes.

The Country's Roads
The main roads are very good quality compared to other lesser developed countries.

The country is very safe compared to some other African countries.

The Food
The food wasn't good or bad for me- I’m vegan which meant I only really ate red-red, jollof rice, noodles, yams etc. I was surprised how people could eat 3 carbs in one meal and hardly any vegetables and how there were a lot of overweight people because of this.

Bad Things About Ghana/Ghanaians

The Waste Problem
Ghana has a HUGE waste problem that personally I found very disturbing... In the west we are now only just waking up to the amount of plastic in the ocean and laws are starting to be made that ban plastic packaging, single use plastic, straws, plastic bags etc. But even before that we have been recycling most of our rubbish for the past 20 years. In Ghana there seems to be zero awareness of recycling or the waste problem and there is not only polystyrene being used for food packaging (which not only doesn't biodegrade for hundreds of years but i think the production of it is toxic) plus then they give you at least TWO plastic bags (rubbers). Also water in plastic bags and everything just thrown in the street. Piles of plastic everywhere with nowhere for it to be recycled. No recycling infrastructure or awareness, but this must be the governments fault, not the people.

Harassment From Men
I found it exhausting, every man I met would ask for my number. Not even normal people on the street but police officers, immigration officers, pharmacists, even a guy I sat next to in the cinema. There seemed to be no escape and no man could be trusted to talk to just as a friend. Taxi drivers too who you are trusting with your life. I gave my number to a couple of guys in Kenya and received daily messages from them constantly harassing me and i didn't give out my number this time. No awareness of a woman's privacy or that she could be feeling vulnerable (e.g men trying to speak to me when I'm walking alone in the dark). Even women would sometimes ask for my number and i felt often that people were looking for their ‘european friend’ or ‘obroni friend’ or ‘ticket to Europe’. As if everyone thinks europe is some kind of paradise which it isn't.

Ghanaians also have a directness that was very different especially to British culture as we are very reserved and private in public. People wouldn't have even said hello yet and asked for my number.

Unpleasant Situation
I don't know if it was just in Accra but a lot of women, especially older women were very fiery and would sometimes shout things at me and would tell me off even if i took a general photo of the market, and seemed to think i wanted to humiliate them on the internet or make fun of them being poor (her words)

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