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Opinions of Thursday, 7 September 2017

Columnist: Stefy Amankwa-Tia

Tourist in my own country; An Africa diaspora girl in Ghana

Being an African girl born and bred in the west I have always seen places like Spain or Mexico as the perfect summer holiday destinations to go to not realizing that non-African people are the ones visiting all the natural attractions that we have in our countries of origin.

I remember last year I was having a conversation with a friend of mine and she started talking about her flight experience back home and how most of the passengers on the plane were mostly not Africans.

From her story, I started questioning what all those people were doing in the country, where they were staying and why as my friend told me you don’t really see them on a daily basis walking in the streets of Accra.

This conversation sparked an urge for me to go back home and see places that everyday Ghanaians wouldn’t normally visit and as a confirmation of that some of my friends didn’t see the reason for me to explore Ghana because for them, I would be better off going to places like South Africa or Kenya.

Interestingly enough, one afternoon, browsing through my social media platforms I came across a Ghana tour summer experience organized by afro weekender NLD and as you can imagine I jumped straight into it by filling an online application form without thinking preparations involved. All I knew is that I was going to be part of the trip and that it was going to be worth it.

As you all may know preparing to go to Africa is not as simple as going for a trip around Europe because depending on the country you are visiting, specific medical vaccinations are required especially if you have not been in the country before.

Moreover, if you have family or friends living there you have to think about gifts and ensure you have enough finances in order to properly enjoy your stay.

Nevertheless, after weeks of preparations, the time was up for me to finally experience my motherland as a tourist.

The first thought that came into my mind stepping outside of the plane was obviously about the warm weather I was welcomed in compared to the not so summery one I left behind in the UK, secondly about the fact that I was not the ‘different’ one among people.

As an African born in the diaspora who has always been a minority, I felt empowered seeing people that looked like me everywhere and as some of you may argue this may not always be an empowering feeling due to the trust and professionalism that sometimes we lack among ourselves as black people, but hey everyone’s experience and views is different.

However, no one can deny the fact that we are generally hardworking and this is shown for example by seeing mothers carrying their babies on their backs while working and from this we can say that every African woman deserves to be a millionaire. Let’s be honest, it is definitely not an easy task to do.

During my stay, however a not so pleasant experience that definitely took time for me to get used to was the presence of speed ramps everywhere especially where I did not expect to find them and the fact that the sign of the ramps were not located as a pre warning to slow down but interestingly enough right where the ramps were located, so you can imagine the acrobatics that the vehicle I was in did.

This was however an experience for me that then turned into something to laugh about every time I came across the car hazard, so make sure you have some good tyres if you don’t want to be stranded with a flat tyre.

Aside from that,one thing that my non-Ghanaians friends have told me after visiting the country is how welcoming and friendly we are even though some say this applies only once you step outside of the Kotoka international airport but that’s a story for another day.

Nevertheless, Ghana is definitely a place you’ll enjoy visiting regardless of her goods and bads and if you are planning a trip stay tuned for part 2 this post of where I will be sharing some of the places I visited and things I did.

Who knows you may add them as part of your trip. I believe that people should consider Ghana as a tourist destination not just because of the natural attractions that we have but also for the cultural experience that you’ll definitely experience as well as the good food and most importantly the people.

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