In a continent like Africa anything is possible. Expect to witness the most bizarre happenings, things that you will surely not see in your own country. Ghana is definitely a one-of-a-kind place. It will offer you experiences that will spice up your life stories. Take a look at 8 of the most singular phenomenons you’ll only witness in Ghana.
Phenomenons you’ll only witness in Ghana
1. Shopping while stuck in traffic
Why go shopping online in Ghana when you can actually purchase your weekly shopping from the comfort of your car? Yes, in Ghana you can shop while you are stopped at a red light or stuck in traffic (or whilst waiting at a tro tro station for the vehicle to get full)
As you can see, traffic in Accra can be pretty hectic so we even dare to say that there may be as many cars on the road as there are sellers! From toilet paper, to meat pies, any kind of drinks, clothes, washing powder, lighters, you name it!
You will find these road sellers at almost every major interchange in Accra and cities of Ghana in general. Very hard working, admirable and skillful people (like the Kayayo girls), able to stand all day in the scorching sun carrying their heavy wares on top of their heads, sometimes sprinting to make it on time to the drivers window to get their change back, navigating and challenging their balance every minute between motorcycles and cars.
2. Business owners incorporate religion and moral lessons to their shop names
Going to church on Sundays is a must in Ghana. Do not be surprised if a Ghanaian is astonished when you tell them you do not go to church; “why don’t you go to church? You must go”, they will tell you.
The religious aspect in Ghana is very important and is felt day to day; from how they approach life to some of their daily activities and routines. So much, that even businesses find inspiration within religion to name their business.
Next time you want to treat your woman to something, why not treat her to get her hair done at “God is my provider beauty salon”, you can also take your man to barber his hair at “one man no chop barbering salon” or how about you take your car to repair at “Jesus almighty repair shop”.
3. Extremely graphic advertising signs of health remedies
The use of herbal medicine in Ghana is widespread, especially in the rural areas. There is so much competition within the larger cities nowadays, that it would make sense that you invest in good advertising to attract clients.
Next time you are walking around the streets of Accra, keep an eye out for these signs. You will surely find a couple of them – some being more graphic than others!
4. Police stop “tro tros” more than private cars!
This is one of the things that doesn’t make a lot of sense because you would think, private car drivers should surely have more “cedis” than a tro tro driver right? (Especially because having a car in Ghana is a sign of you having money).
However, if you decide to experience the tro tro movement, especially when you travel around different Ghanaian cities, you will see how you will be stopped at least once by police on your journey. Even if you are driving, observe police checkpoints and you will see tro tros being stopped.
5. Tro Tro preachers
A Tro tro preacher is almost like a job title in Ghana. You will mostly find them at tro tro stations, moving from tro-tro to tro-tro, taking advantage whilst people wait for the vehicle to get full, to recite the words of the Bible.
Depending on your views, maybe even your mood on that day, the preacher may be seen as utterly annoying or as a “saviour” who came to light up your day and guide you into the right path. Either way, if you decide to travel by tro tro, maybe it’s a good idea to carry headphones in your bag!
6. Receive your water bills months, (or even years late)
There may be a month (or a couple) where you don’t receive your water bill and think to yourself “phew, maybe they forgot and I do not need to pay a water bill ever again!”, but who are you to blame, the water bill will always arrive, just that in Ghana being on time (not just for people) is not a strength.
7. Funerals are actually fun
After a while living in Ghana it becomes normal but if it’s your first time here and you suddenly see a big celebration on the streets, with very loud music and people dressed in black & red, that is a funeral and not a party.
Money is never an issue for Ghanaians when it comes to sending off the deceased in style. It can be something that is planned for months, just for them to get enough money to be able to pay for the whole ceremony which usually entails; a DJ or band, and lots of food because all the community will be invited (even if they didn’t know the person directly).
When someone dies, a big banner is printed with the person’s picture, full name and date of birth/date of death, and is placed outside their home, for the whole community to be informed.
8. Sachet water is called “pure”
If you want to buy sachet water, whether it’s whilst you are on a tro-tro or from any street vendor, you just need to say “pure” (the pronunciation is also important – pronounced as “pio”) they will instantly understand that you want one sachet of water.
If you say “water” or “bottle of water” they will think that you actually want “A” bottle of water (which is more expensive than sachet water). Simplify your life by just saying “pure”!
This happens with other daily products such as toothpaste for example. It’s funny how every toothpaste is referred to as “pepsodent” in Ghana (which is actually a brand), but for Ghanaians that means, any kind of brand, just give be toothpaste!
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