I used to keep a diary in years 2010, -13 and -14 while staying in Ghana. Not all that regularly but I did whenever I felt like writing down some deep thoughts, big feelings and surprising experiences. In 2015 and -16 I stopped writing as my work days got hectic following the long hours in the middle of Accra's crazy traffic on the way home.
”I' can't wait for the time I get back to Ghana,
especially the timeless everyday life there.
That Ghanaian joy of life and friendliness.
Only thoughts of all that put a smile on my face.”
During last years I used to share my thoughts with a dear friend of mine, Hanna, who has also spent many years traveling back and forth from Finland to Ghana. We kept thinking how best share our experience and knowledge of Ghana with our friends and people interested in the country. We've been lucky and thirsty to actually dive under the surface, straight to the grassroots - thanks to our local networks and our own curiosity. This is why we brought Go Beyond Ghana, a blog showing all you need to know about "the Gold Coast" through our eyes, to you.
My first journey to Ghana was due to a work practice as part of my studies in 2010. The country had a huge impact in me from day one but I never knew back then that I'd quit my job that I loved in Finland in order to leave and start leading a school for deaf in Ghana. I didn't even speak sign language (let alone Ghanaian sign language!!)
”That moment when things become crystal clear - the decision is being made and you cling to your dreams even though a lot of things have to be changed. I'm ready! Ghana, here I come!"
That's what I wrote in my diary in August 2013 and I'm still on the same path today. Just that these days I rather think that it's Ghana that has changed me. Believe me or not, nowadays I can even speak the Ghanaian sign language quite well! And when leaving the country I don't need to say goodbyes but "see you next time". Ghana has become my second home.
Ghana through my lens
I just arrived from my last trip to Ghana a few weeks ago and I feel like I discover the country differently during every single stay. On the other hand, the same old & known traditions feel safe, secure and welcoming. And the people! Ghanaians are the friendliest people I know!
Ghana keeps surprising me every day. Many situations just leave me staring eyes wide with astonishment; What on earth did just happen?
Did that man just ask me if I do love Jesus from the bottom of my heart at 6 a.m.? Or when 7 grown-ups and 3 kids are being packed in a small, rusty car that hardly even moves, all you can say is
”Don’t worry, be happy”
When I've found myself in trouble or I've been completely lost, help has always been offered without even asking. Small talk can be extremely free-spoken while in Finland too direct expressions can be very offensive. Still getting used to it! :)
”You've become fat!"
What brings me and Hanna together to work on this blog is our similar ways of traveling and viewing the world, and of course our love for Ghana. We both throw ourselves enthusiastically into things that are important for us. We go for new stuff with open minds even if it feels frightening. And we want to encourage others to go for their dreams too!
"It's important for us to adapt to local cultures
and be part of the surrounding environments."
And still we both have our own stories to tell with our own personal twists. We've actually been exploring Ghana from quite different perspectives and starting points. This gives us an advantage of also filtering the country through diverse viewpoints for our readers!
With warmest regards,