Waking up early at home away from home

A little insight into our Ghanaian life: Imagine you are far, far asleep, somewhere between neverland and paradise when suddenly, your phone rings – at 5.30 in the morning. In Germany I’d think it is either an emergency, or, and that’s probably more often the case, I’d curse the one calling because he/she is drunk dialling me, wanting to tell me the latest party adventures and therefore denying me my sleep. But here in Ghana it is most possibly just a friend who wants to know how and what you are doing. Who just wants to know that you are fine – at 5.30 in the morning. And surprisingly this habit, calling people at any hour around the clock, just to ask whether they are ok or not, doesn’t even get me angry or annoyed, at least not anymore. It really used to, but somehow this time it’s different. This time I feel ok when friends, friends of friends, uncles, aunties, grandfathers and other distant relatives, that are not even mine, call me at whatever ungodly hour of the day. Somehow I even learned to appreciate it, to embrace this habit, to just answer whatever their question might be, to then fall back to sleep and call them back whenever I am done with what I was just doing, whenever I finished dreaming what I was just dreaming – just as they requested. And of course I could easily avoid those calls by just switching off my phone at night, or at least turn it to silent mode, but then again why should I?! Isn’t it nice to have people thinking about you, people caring for you and just letting you know at the exact moment they do?!

  Imagine further that you can travel an entire country without having to worry about where you might spend the night. Imagine that there is always somebody to care, somebody to help you out and someplace you can call home. Welcome to Ghana. All of us have spend quite some time in Ghana by now, all of us have travelled here and there, but all of us, Carla, Jeff and me, are still amazed by the overwhelming hospitality that you get to experience over here. Last week the three of us made a short trip to attend a festival in Cape Coast, to meet Jeff’s grandpa, aunties and cousins in Sunyani and on the way we greeted a friend in Kumasi. Never did we even have to think about where to sleep or where and what to eat – because in Ghana it is all taken care of.

We got a free ride from Accra to Cape Coast with a friend of a friend of Jeffrey’s uncle. Uncle Mike then proceeded to introduce us to his friend Nii and his wife Barbara. And here, in their house, we’d spend the following two nights – breakfast included; and so would have been all other meals if only we had wanted them to be. Instead we went to eat at Uncle Mike’s house, where we were welcomed with a really nice, and (of course) way too big portion of freshly pounded fufu. And while we enjoyed the festival, celebrated and made new friends, watched girls play against boys in a basketball game and stayed out late, there was always somebody waiting for us to come home. When we left for Kumasi, Barbara was just about to pound fufu for us that we unfortunately never ate and Nii offered us to come and stay with them whenever we wanted to come back to Cape Coast, because “this was our home now.”

Arriving in Kumasi we got picked up by Kwame, a friend of our friend Evans, who was still at work/at church doing some business. When he finally got home, we went out to enjoy some really nice food before we went to sleep in his bed, while he preferred to take the couch. After a longer than expected busride from Kumasi to Sunyani, nine calls within 30 minutes and a little confusion about where to drop from the bus, Jeffrey’s grandfather, widely known as “Opa” picked us up from the bus station to drive us home. And even though I had never met any of the people awaiting us at the family house, I was welcomed just as if I would come and go on a regular basis. And this hospitality, that comes so naturally, is what I like about Ghana so much, what I like about Ghanaians so much. Ghana makes you feel at home wherever you are from and wherever you are going. Ghana’s people will take care of you, they will give you their bed, their food, their smiles, their knowledge, they will take you out and show you around, Ghana’s people will do everything to make you feel comfortable, to make you feel at home without ever really expecting to get something in return.

- Ragna