Partir, c’est mourir un peu.

(To leave is to die a little)

Good morning from a chilly airport in Brussels,

Yesterday was the day, I left Ghana. It was still impossible for me to believe, somehow it still hasn’t really hit me. Except for the sadness, and already missing soo much.

A funny thing happened though since I had been thinking about extending my stay, it turned out that I had overstayed my VISA! I almost had a heart attack when the people at immigration said I had overstayed my VISA, and that it was a very very serious offense and that I would get a penalty! Somehow I had thought I had a 3 months VISA automatically when entering Ghana, did not even check the stamp when I arrived, where they had written 60 days… After being taken into an office at the airport to a very angry woman, she said I would have to pay a fine. Again, heart attack because now I thought okay if I’m not getting arrested or something crazy like that – at least this fine is going to be HUGE. Haha, nope. 80 Ghanaian cedis, which is about 145 SEK. I wanted to laugh, but it was not the moment. I was still scared too, so I was already almost crying. But the lady warmed up, we talked about nice things with Ghana and I was good to go! So a suggestion from me, check your stamp at arrival haha!

Anyways, the week has been hectic. I had 3 interviews, all insanely interesting and helpful! I still can’t believe all the amazing people I have met during my time in Ghana. So many people fighting for human rights, and children’s rights, it gives me hope for the future.

But like I mentioned, I feel very sad and empty right now. I feel like I have left a piece of my heart in Ghana. The food, the people, the music, the weather, the city, the traffic, the languages – yeah you get it. I could go on forever. It has been so different from Sweden, it has forced me out of my comfort zone sooo many times. More times than I thought I was ready for even, but here I am, so grateful and proud of my experience in Ghana. It has been lifechanging honestly, and has brought back some light in my life that I have been missing for a long time.

My last thought goes to all the amazing friends I have had the opportunity to meet and spend my 9 weeks with. They truly are some amazing people, they are what I will miss the most. You all know who you are.


Less than a week left, and finally got the dream interview!

Sunday afternoon and I’m writing this only having less than a week left here in Ghana. This past week I’ve really been debating with myself whether or not I should stay a few more weeks here, at least till my VISA expires 3 weeks after my departure date… A big part of me really likes it here, and it already feels like a sort of home. On top of that, I’m not too excited to go back to Sweden at the moment. But a part of me also feels ready to go home, mainly to be able to see friends and family. This last week I’ve just felt really lonely. Also I really really cannot wait to get back to Sweden and all the Swedish food! I’m honestly writing a list on my phone of things I’m gonna eat when I come back, no joke.

The main reason why I feel ready to go home is because I have now scheduled another 3 interviews this coming week, and I feel like the material I have now is what I wanted from the beginning, and good enough. One of these interviews is with the chief of child protection at UNICEF! I couldn’t believe it when I got the answer from him, I cried haha. They were always on top of my list of organizations I wanted to interview. Everyone kept telling me they were a looong shot and it would be quite impossible to get an interview there. Well, if you really really want something fight for it and it will work out one way or the other.

Now I’m heading to the Accra Mall, to sit down at the coffee shop and drink plenty of my favorite coconut icepresso and study! That place has really been a comfy place where I have spent many days studying, drinking coffee, meeting new people, and, buying my new phone, I will miss it!

Meeting so many inspiring people

Hello, from a very rainy and windy Accra!

I can finally say this past week has been very busy, with interviews! YAY! Last week included a smaller breakdown, both because of the lack of internet which is really making everything A LOT harder, and because my lack of interviews and just some general homesickness (never thought I’d say that!). But as usual, after surviving a really bad day like that the next day brought a lot of positivity and strength and motivation! So on Thursday I went about 2,5hrs drive from Accra to an NGO and spent most of the day there, interviewing staff. They had built like a whole small community, with a school even, for rescued child trafficking victims. It was amazing to see and spend the day there. Then both my Friday and Saturday was spent with another organization here in one of the slum-areas in Accra. This is an organization that a Swedish woman started, that I found by finding her old master thesis online. I had a very useful interview with one of the staff, and on Saturday I got to join the youth ambassadors meeting they have every Saturday. They had a little small presentation for me about educational systems in Ghana and child trafficking. WOW, so so grateful for this experience. Afterward, I got to present what I’m doing in Ghana and my studies, and since they had shared the educational system in Ghana I shared what I know about the educational system in Sweden. Huge huge differences, here children who want nothing more than to go to school cannot, or even if they do they face sexual abuse and rape by their teachers, and in Sweden, there’s so many who are complaining about even having to go to school… Perspectives… Then we just continued having very interesting conversations about child trafficking and governments, what needs to change for trafficking to end etc. I left that place with such a warm feeling in my heart.

Stolen phone, discouraged and other struggles 5 weeks in.

My apologies for the delayed update. I got my phone stolen, and couldn’t get a new one until a week later. Plus there hasn’t been any wifi at the house for the past week now so I’m surviving on some mobile data for the most important things.

I must admit that the past 2 weeks have been quite challenging for me… put aside the stolen phone, no internet, plenty of personal struggles and challenges, I feel quite discouraged regarding my field study while writing this post. The stolen phone and lack of internet have really put me back when it comes to reaching my contacts etc. On top of that, my “plan” was to hopefully have conducted all of my interviews by the end of my first month here, that hasn’t worked out. I still only have 4 interviews from one NGO. It is not that I didn’t expect these obstacles, and I always had an open mind knowing there is a big possibility I wouldn’t be able to finish my interviews in the first month. But it stresses me a lot, and me + school-stress is not the best combination… The one thing that calms me a bit is knowing that I have the possibility of staying here in Ghana a bit longer if I need to since I don’t have anything urgent that I have to get back to Sweden for at the moment. Actually not even until mid-August… But it’s hard when you feel so motivated and prepared and then there are things you can’t control that stands in your way…

A little different kind of post today, but this is my reality at the moment and I think it is important to share all the stages of this study, both good and not so good.

To finish off on the positive side, I have managed to go on weekend trips almost every weekend. It has been amazing to see more places in Ghana outside of Accra, I will try to post about it in the coming days!

Some fun random facts about Ghana that I’ve experienced so far!

Hello from a new week in Ghana!

Spending this Monday trying to plan this coming week and what I want/need to do! I am currently writing a letter to the minister of the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Protection here in Accra, to hopefully be granted an interview with the director of the human trafficking department there. I really really hope I will get that interview, would be SOOO helpful! Other than that, this weeks will be filled with studying as usual. I am still trying to find a good location where I can sit down and study, so far it is either at home in the house or a cafe in the mall. I miss a good old library…

I thought I would share some things that I have noticed so far after my 3 weeks here, that are quite different from Sweden. Most of them positive, some a little less.

  • People always say good morning, good afternoon, good evening before beginning a conversation. Took me a few days to pick that up, they must have thought I was so rude…
  • The traffic here is CRAZY compared to Sweden. Everyone drives like crazy, honking to everything and nothing, and I wouldn’t say traffic rules are what decides how people drive. I’m taking both Uber, but also the local ‘bus’ called trotro which is the cheapest option. It is all the same, you kinda feel happy you are still alive when you get out of the vehicle haha! It is definitely true what they say, if you can drive in Accra you can drive anywhere in the world!
  • People are so friendly and welcoming. Maybe sometimes a bit too much for a European… I love the fact that everyone talks to everyone, every house is open to everyone, people sit outside and talk and just spend time with each other. It is a whole different culture in that sense compared to Sweden, where most people just want to stay in their own corner and spend as little time as possible with strangers or interacting face to face.  But the downside might be when the Uber driver says he loves you and asks to marry you after 5 minutes in the car. It happened to my roommate from Germany, it seems like she handled it well whereas I’m thinking I would’ve either freaked out and jumped out of the moving car or gotten quite angry… Neither which would be a very good solution haha, so I am happy she told me about this so that I’m prepared with a chill answer if it would happen to me. + always sit in the backseat, less risk for it to happen!
  • Obruni – white man. This is the main word Ghanaians use to get my attention on the street. At first, I found it to be a bit strange and felt uncomfortable, but after discussing it with some Ghanaian friends I’ve understood that it is not an insult or a bad word per se. As I connected it to be, like if someone would call black man after a Ghanaian on the streets in Sweden – we all know what would happen then.
  • Goats, chickens, lizards, cockroaches, (huge) spiders and dogs are everywhere. In our yard by the house some chickens from the houses around daily come for a stroll, it freaked me out at first but now I kinda like it! Regarding the spiders, I killed one my first week here, but now I have named the one in my room because I consider him my roommate! Can’t say for sure if I like having him there just because, or if it is because seeing him in his usual spot calms me knowing that at least then he is not in my bed!


First few days in Ghana!


My journey has started! Day 4 here in Accra today, and so far I really really REALLY like it here.

My accommodation is great, I live with the best people! A nice bunch of different nationalities, they are definitely a big part of why I already feel so at home here.

Also, the weather is great. So so great, it is definitely very hot and I’m constantly sweating but I’d take this any day instead of cold and grey weather!

The weekend was very chill, getting into everything. Yesterday I had my first interview with one organization, that is working with street children. I spent the first two hours with one of the workers there out on the street to see how it is. This is in an area of Accra that is mentioned as a scrap-yard. Many children live on the street there, picking metal to sell. We did not get to walk more than five minutes before there was a very serious incident with a young boy there. Nothing has ever affected me as much. This place was really something out of this world. That kind of place you would not ever believe existed unless you saw it with your own eyes. Yesterday was a day that I will remember for the rest of my life and that I will keep in my heart forever.


The house I’m living in and the backyard!

Some food one of the girls in the house from Ivory Coast cooked for us, amazing!

They are a big fan of everything ginger here.

Äntligen här!

Hej allihop!

Nu har vi äntligen anlänt till Ghana, Accra och hunnit installera oss lite. Vi reste lördagen den 29 Mars kl 7.30 och kom fram till Accra ca 20.30 (svensk tid). Allt gick smidigt och bra! Väl framme på flygplatsen så hade vårt hostel fixat med transport. På flygplatsen var alla väldigt vänliga och välkomnande. Det fösta vi hörde var Welcome to Accra! De hjälpte gärna till med väskor, detta mot dricks vilket var svårt för oss eftersom vi bara hade dollar. Resan till vårt hostel var en upplevelse dels för att vi var lite rädda för de körde som galningar och tutade hela tiden och dels för den stora kontrasten jämfört med hemma.

Vi bor på ett hostel i Accra som ligger lite utanför stan. Alla är jättevänliga och hjälpsamma och ägarna till vårt boende är ett äldre par som föredrar att bli kallade Auntie och Uncle vilket gör det hela familjärt. Här är billigt och god mat. En lunch, fried rice and chicken och två öl till det för bara 30kr. Vi ser vackra kvinnor i långa färgglada klänningar med matchande sjalar till och stora fruktfat på huvudet. Här är ett högt tempo med mycket bilar, skjul med mat och andra saker som de säljer. Marken består till största del av röd sand och höns springer runt på gatorna.

Vi har utforskat staden lite, växlat pengar, lokaliserat oss och fixat med internetuppkoppling. Nu är det dags att ta kontakt med organisationen som vi ska besöka och börja göra intervjuscheman.

Vi kommer att uppdatera med fler inlägg och bilder inom kort =)

Kram Annie och Mona

Äntligen framme i Ghana

Akwaaba, detta e vår blogg !

Vi har nu kommit till rätta här i Accra på ett grymt hostel. Vi landade i lördags och har under helgen mest fixat alla praktiska saker som internet och telefoner samt försöka ta in alla nya intryck. Vi har även hunnit smaka på alla frukter staden har att erbjuda (mangoträd i trädgården!) och dansat loss på en AC (after church).

Idag ösregnar det och är måndag vilket vi tar som ett tecken att det e dags att sätta igång med uppsatsen på allvar.


Interesting experiences

Last week I was recommended by S to meet up with R at the Ghana institute of Journalism (GIJ) that could help me get in contact with a few people that I need to interview for the thesis. I got to the place and waited for her at the school (not for a long time thank God ). After a while I saw someone by the road getting out of a taxi with a huuuuuuuge smile. I was not sure who she was smiling at but when she came up to me I understood that she was R.  A really friendly girl who is a student at the GIJ. So she introduced me to a few people. It’s so funny when you are in another country how people are so interested in who you are and what you are doing there. For instance, while waiting for R someone just came up to me and started talking about education and a bunch of other things. I could tell that this person was really smart and he told me that he really wants to study in Europe and asked a few questions about our educational system.

Anyway, the people I was introduced to were nice, I wouldn’t say that they were supernice (since most of them are professors and educated to PhD level and I’ve noticed that some of them can be really difficult in terms of feeling big for some weird reason). But they were OK. The last person I was introduced to was really something….

This was the BIG guy at school.. The Vice Rector holder of a PhD. My new found friend R had to go in and have a little chat with him before I even could come in and introduce myself. While waiting, I could hear them briefly talking and she really put herself out there in order for me to be able to come in. Seems like this R has got in good with most of the professors. However! And I say this with an exclamation point. He clearly said that “I do not give out information for free and you know I am very serious about that”. Despite his snotty comment I decided to go inside his office to see what kind of person he was (maybe he was a joker of some kind, you can never know unless you see for yourself). He sat in his air-conditioned office didn’t even bother to shake my hand or greet, while analyzing me. (very creepy moment I must say). So I introduced myself and all of that. However during the 10 or 15 minutes I spent in his office he kept on making small indications that he needs to be paid to participate as an interviewee in my thesis (basically a BRIBE). I said that I couldn’t do that since this was for study purposes and that I am a representative for not only Malmö University but SIDA as well.  As if this episode was not enough, R told me that he is known for having relations with students at the school. If that was a rumor, I do not know.  So I had to drop that one as fast as I could. I do not think that his opinions on the democratic process in Ghana is much more valuable than any other plus, it’s just not worth it trying so hard to have contact with someone  that probably would give me the same views as any other pan-African advocate . I just had a really bad feeling about this guy.

However the other ones that I was introduced to are still eligible candidates…That day really got me thinking on how easy things are in Sweden compared to here. It’s really exhausting having to deal with the “big guys”.

I mean EVERYTHING is easier in Sweden, set prices in taxis and most shops, dealing with professors and authorities, no problems with electricity when studying, people are in time for meetings, facilities for students (libraries and such). All these things we take for granted. Goooosh, I think I’m starting to feel a bit homesick…

Oh well, thought I’d share 12 interesting things I’ve learnt so far

1)      Ghanaians are really friendly and helpful when you are lost in Accra

2) Traffic is CRAZY, cars, taxis and buses can literally drive almost anyway they like

3)      Taxis always try to overcharge you (negotiating is fun but you need to be seriously skilled)

4)      People ambush you trying to sell various things (watches, water, fruit, mirrors, clothes etc) when the traffic lights turn red. So when if you have forgotten something on you way to an interview, just get on the road!

5)      African time is really not a joke (people can delay 5 hours or more)

6)      Some people can try to bribe you for interviews (even professors)

7)      Educated people are just a bit more difficult to deal with than us “commoners”

8)      Ghanaians are not as stressed about things  as we are

9)      Wall geckos are common (So far I’ve had three in my room, 2 small ones and 1 bigger)

10)   Electricity comes and goes (not ideal when writing on my thesis or transcribing interviews)

11)   Every radio station plays the type of music I LOVE!

12)   Last but not least, Shoprite sells Swedish breakfast food!!!  (Havregryn and alpro soya and other European things, that’s my place when I’m homesick :D)

And oh! I was so focused on narrating the GIJ experience that I almost forgot to say that I met up with a professor yesterday. My new supervisor! Since my previous one hardly shows up and really had a serious problem with time. (Time that he himself had set up). So in any case I’m happy about that! And I’ve finally purchased tiGO Internet modem that works from time to time 🙂

During my stay I’ve also visited Cape Coast Castle  that was used in the transatlantic slave trade. Even Sweden had a share of that among nations like Great Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Portugal (don’t know if I’ve forgotten any other countries).  On my way to Cape coast I asked when the bus was supposed to leave. So one friendly man told me that the STC buses have set times but we must wait until the bus is full. Frustrating situation for a person who’s always on time! So instead of departing at 8:30 the bus departed at 9:35.

On my way home from Cape Coast to Accra I had a real adventure using all forms of collective traffic there is. Buses, tro-tros (mini-buses stuffed with people which costs only 1 cedi 8 pesewas, very student friendly), and at last taxi. A journey that was supposed to take 2 hours took me 5 hours from Cape Coast to the center of Accra and back home to the bumpy roads of Ashaley-Botwe and the bus didn’t really have any stops in Accra. Instead the driver told us in twi that we should shout out where in Accra we wanted to get off since he would not be able to hear us due to a noisy engine.

Stay tuned for the next episode from the homesick, exhausted Ghanaian/Ethiopian/Swedish student… 🙂