… And Didn’t Want To Come Back
Most of you (if you follow me on socials) will know that I spent the festive break in the most gorgeous place imaginable.
I am not going to use up my blog space telling you how lit the nightlife was (omg) or how amazing the service in the hotel was (omg x2) I’m not even gonna brag about the fact that I got to wear a strappy top on NYE without the fear nor thought of bringing a jumper “just in-case” no!
This post is about the 2 weeks I spent at home.
This was my first time as an adult, visiting a West African country and from the moment I stepped a flip-flopped-foot out of arrivals I felt something different that had little to do with the 30 degree heat or aching neck from the 6hr flight.
I don’t quite know how to explain this without just saying exactly what it was that initially took my breath away; I was surrounded by black people.
Let me explain:
I am from a pretty diverse area in South East London and I thought I had been surrounded by black people my entire life. And then I went to Africa. The drivers, the passengers, the receptionists, the baggage handlers, the security, the immigration officers, the waiters, the diners, the DJ’s, the ravers, the tour guides, the sun-bathers… Everyone. Is. Black. And I know now that it may seem like a silly thing to read but trust me there is no feeling like that. I am mixed race by origin and by skin-tone but there was something about walking out of that arrivals gate that made me breathe a huge “I’m home” sigh of relief.
Once I got over the initial feeling of being in an African country (I don’t know if I will ever get over the feeling completely if I am honest) I had another overwhelming feeling this time of being at home. (This blog post is full of whelm-ments; which I am very aware isn’t a word but completely fits, so please bear with)
As my name would suggest I’m from Nigeria (partly) but that didn’t seem important here, I live in London but I don’t mean it in the same way. It could be because a lot of the locals welcomed me home when I told them I had never been to Africa before or it could be because going to school a stones throw away from Millwall football grounds was a little bit tetchy at times. But you know that feeling you get after you have been at work all day and you reach your house, you get inside and kick your shoes off and for the first time in what seems like hours you can just breathe? Yeah, that is the feeling I am talking about. That was the underlying feeling of my entire trip, to say I slowed down is an understatement. Getting back into work these first few weeks of Jan have been tough to say the least, this blog is a fortnight overdue!
I didn’t use my phone, other than to take pics, whilst in Ghana and while that was a conscious decision that I made before I took my trip (I deleted the instagram app early December) I think it was the best decision made at the best time. Because it forced me to actually engage in what was happening and enabled me to do my favourite thing whilst I’m on holiday: people watch.
I love the bartering system where your taxi driver throws a random number out there and you have to whittle him down to something a little bit more reasonable. I love the women in the hair salon doing their best to get me out the door by 2pm but we all know I’ll be there til at-least 6. I love the fact that an event that starts at 8pm really wont be worth going to until midnight and even then you’ll be early. I love how easy going Ghanaians are, I love the smell, the food, the sun and most importantly the people.
I read somewhere that Ghanaians are the friendliest people on earth and I think it just might be true, it took me a while to defrost the cold shoulder that comes with living in a city like London and not look at everyone with that suspicious eye when they are literally just trying to be helpful. It took me a little longer to get over my own preconceptions of what Ghana would be like, and by this I mean:
We are fed an image of Africa from YOUNG. We are shown the poverty, we are shown the wars and the disease and lack of development. We aren’t shown the richness of the culture, the architecture, the true history. Only the bad bits. I went and saw with my own eyes and also dispelled my own ignorance. Ignorance I didn’t actually realise I had until I was surprised by things that didn’t fit the narrative that my Londoner brain expected.
Diggy Simmons explains it a lot better than I can:
From the canopy bridges in Kakum & painting the primary school Fuse ODG built to the pool at The Mövenpick & nights out raving til sunrise I truly lived in Ghana.
I tried to take as many pics as possible (but still didn’t take quite enough IMO) and whilst I doubt I will ever publish them ALL I have put a select few below, have a look and trust me when I tell you I can’t wait until this Christmas to thaw out again. Yinka x