What’s It Like Being a Jamaican Living in Ghana?
Interviews

What’s It Like Being a Jamaican Living in Ghana?

What’s It Like Being a Jamaican Living in Ghana?

Have you ever wondered what’s it like being a Jamaican living in Ghana? In our “Jamaicans to the World” series, Jamaicans.com founder Xavier Murphy speaks with Ruth Kwakwa, a Jamaican living in Ghana.

Xavier: What is it like being a Jamaican in Ghana? Hi, I’m Xavier Murphy, founder of Jamicas.com. And with me today is Ruth Qwaqwa from Ghana, a Jamaican who is living there. So Ruth, how are you?

Ruth: I’m good Xavier. Missing you. It’s time for you to come back, but in the meantime, hope springs eternal.

Xavier: I can tell you this, Ghana is at the top of my list, and I will be back. It was too short of a time.

Ruth: There we go, wheel and come again. Come again.

Xavier: So my first question is, which paat a Jamaica yuh cum fram? (which part of Jamaica are you from)

Ruth: A come from Kingston, near Barbican, close enough to Andrews and close enough to you guys down at JC. I didn’t go there nearly as much but-

Xavier: My sista.(sister)

Ruth: That’s right.

Xavier: All right. Su (so), my next question to you is this one, how did you end up in Ghana?

Ruth: So, I hooked up with a Ghanaian at university in the US, and we got married, in Jamaica. We got married at UWI Chapel. And at some point, we left the US to be in South Africa, and then came back to Ghana. He’s Ghanaian, so just like me, he spent all his schooling years in Ghana, and then went to the US to University. The rest is history.

Xavier: Wow! So, you lived in South Africa for a time also?

Ruth: Yes. We lived in South Africa twice, actually. Yes. We lived there for a total of three plus seven, about 10 years, I guess. Then, yes, and Ghana for 15. But twice we lived in South Africa twice.

Xavier: Wow. So you have quite an experience then with, way down South and back up North?

Ruth: Yes. Completely different experiences, completely. I mean they’re very, very different places. But both of them caught my vibe. As I tell everybody, you’re free to crack jokes with the people around you in both of these countries. And I think that that’s what really felt good. Yes, once we made it home. So yes, we’ve done both.

Xavier: So, are you saying they’re a little like us. Wi tek bad tings mek joke? (We take bad things make joke)

Ruth: Yes. In different ways though. The sense of humor is different, but it’s still very– I think what’s common to both countries, is that sense of humanity, where people are a bit more forgiving of each other and, yes, warmer and fuzzier. I think that’s what they have in common and that’s what’s very similar to Jamaica. So if you’re standing in a supermarket line, you can crack a joke and make reference to the child of the person in front of you. Yes, they both feel like home. But Ghana feels like home in a different way. Because historically we’re so linked to Ghana. So when you’re in Ghana, you see Jamaica much more than you would see Jamaica in South Africa, even though they both feel homey. Yes.

Xavier: I can tell you this, when I was planning the trip there and for years, I keep hearing everybody seh (say), you know, Ghana feels like home. A part of me was saying to myself that, because we hear that a lot of us, Jamaicans, are from Ghana or that region, we, though may be psychological, it’s built in our minds to think that.

Ruth: Yes.

Xavier: You know, I saw you when I got there. I was only there practically a day and a half, two days. I can tell you this, you know, I kept saying, oh, Jamaican just saying that because it’s been ingrained in us to say, we come from there. There’s a whole DNA story that you and I will catch up on, my visit at some point but when I got to Ghana, I’ll tell you, it felt like home.

Ruth: Yes. Yes. The first time I came was in 90…, I want to say 91. And I just remember closing my eyes and listening to everything and saying, oh my goodness, this sounds like home. And just seeing people stand up with their hands a kimbo, it just felt familiar. So, yes. And I never came looking for it. To be clear, I was not looking for it. The only reason I came was because I fell in love with a Ghanaian. That’s all. But I wasn’t a historian. I wasn’t romanticizing about it. I wasn’t dreaming about it. If I hadn’t met him, I don’t know when I would have come, but I came because of him and I found all of this, which surprised me.

Xavier: Good. That’s why a say, I have to come back.

Ruth: Part two, yes. You didn’t spend long enough.

Xavier: So my next question to you is, so what do you like? And I think you kind of got into that. What do you like most about Ghana?

Ruth: Well, I think it’s a familiarity of it. So, I’ve lived overseas off and on quite a bit. When I was in high school, I lived in Spain, loved it. I lived in South Africa, spent a long time in Brazil and the US, but I think it just feels very familiar. Home is home, is home, but somewhere feels more like home. If you hear people laughing, speaking in a way that you’re familiar with, or that resonates with your soul. So, much like we talk about Patois being or soul or heart language. Even though I don’t speak the local languages, the rhythm of the local languages resonates with me and I can’t explain it. Maybe some psychologists can explain it, but it resonates in a way that makes you feel good. When you see people walking and their body rocks like your body rocks or when they dance. And they hear music the same way, but maybe on an exaggerated level, because the dancing we do in Jamaica is at one level, and the dancing that they do here in Ghana is at a different level completely. But, it’s all familiar and it’s all similar.

So, I think when you’re surrounded by all of that, it makes you feel okay about being overseas. I guess home is where the family is too. So, you know, I don’t know what my experience would have been like as an outright expat, I don’t know. But I know that for me, this is home and to our kids, for them, this is home. They claim Jamaica also, obviously. But they’re Ghanaian kids with international attachments. The other thing I like about Ghana is, well, there’s so many things. You know, when you hear about a country, that’s steeped in tradition, until you live that tradition, you don’t really know what that’s steeped in tradition means.

And here in Ghana, it’s like everything is linked to some tradition. It shows up in the daily protocol, how you say hello to people. You know, when you enter a room, you have to greet people in a certain direction. You have to greet them in a counterclockwise direction. You can never go clockwise when you’re saying hello to people. Their daily occurrences that remind you of how old this civilization is. You know, and that traditions have been carried out since then. The whole family system, the matrilineal system of the Akan or the Ashanti’s. It comes from way back and it persists to this day. I think it’s beautiful to watch that. It’s almost like walking through a historic city. Let’s say you’re walking through Spain and you seeing these historic buildings.

There’s something very impressive about seeing history or seeing things that represent centuries around you, and in Ghana you see that in people. People’s behavior represents centuries of behavior that was interrupted at some point, but it wasn’t taken away. I think it’s, kind of beautiful to see that, and you take it for granted when you’re here. I know that when I first came here, I should have written a lot more because I knew some of it would become very same old, same old. But there’s still a bit of it left in me and I still see it through new eyes day.

What’s It Like Being a Jamaican Living in Ghana?

People in the city in Ghana

Xavier: There’s so much to unpack in that. When you and I sit down, separately, we’ll have another conversation. But the one thing that caught my attention was, you said, “The dancing is to another level.” Okay. Now, Jamaica tek (take) dancing to another level, you’re saying that, not even close?

Ruth: No, it’s has a different– It’s almost is a– I think an easier comparison because you caan even tek (can’t even take) popular music, because that’s a whole different level right there. But even if you go into a church, just dancing and celebration of life, you know, kind of let everything that has breath, praise the Lord. They’re at different levels, different level. We’re still very conservative in Jamaica, for the most part. You’ve seen attempts in Jamaica to have local music or local beats or indigenous beats re-introduce themselves into our music and our way of worship, but wi (we) nuh (don’t) reach yet. So, I mean, I remember at Christmas, I remember going to Jamaica at Christmas, and you know, you hear yu (your) favorite Jamaican Christmas songs, ‘Virgin Mary have a baby boy’. And because I’m coming from Ghana I’m waiting for that to be thoroughly jazzed up, rocking left, right and center. Dance through down. No. And I was like, no, but the Virgin Mary just didn’t have a baby. She had a baby. So anyway, so it is at a different level, but it’s hard to describe unless you see it and live it. So yes.

Xavier: Aright. Okay. And I know dancehall music has gotten quite popular there, with some Ghana artists that have come out and performed with Jamaicans, so we’ll have to have a music segment.

Ruth: Everything, everything. By the time you come, we’ll link up with Jam-rock restaurant and they’ll throw down a few musicians and we will just have a good time. Yes, we’ll make it work for us.

Xavier: So here’s the next question. What’s the thing you like the least?

Ruth: Okay. So, for every good thing, when it’s exaggerated or when it comes on heavy, sometimes we can misinterpret it or it becomes something that we don’t like as much. So, much as the tradition and the protocol is beautiful to watch, if you’re not from it, it can rub you the wrong way a few times. So, let’s say the heavy tradition. The heavy tradition means also that gender roles are more traditional than Jamaican gender roles. So, things are still assigned to gender in a way that we no longer assign them to in Jamaica. You can find, Let’s think. There, it’s very hierarchical. The tradition is very hierarchical. You have the chief, you have people who report to the chief, et cetera, and so Ghana tends to be hierarchical across many fronts. So, it’s hierarchical in terms of tradition, in terms of gender, in terms of age. So one of the beautiful things about Ghana is that, they revere their elders. So, even if you’re six months older than me, you get my respect.

Xavier: Wow.

Ruth: The flip side of that means that there’s limited ability to challenge in the way that we’re used to in Jamaica. So, I caan (can’t) just come out and start a big, big argument with somebody who’s much older than me, because it doesn’t wash so well. Ghanaians are realizing that times are changing, but people are still trying to figure out how to navigate, how to maintain the culture, even with social media, which is dismantling Ageism, for example, or tradition.

Xavier: I see.

Ruth: I’ll give you a classic example. In Ghana when somebody dies, there’s an entire protocol that goes around with announcing that the person has died. It’s beautiful to watch in motion, but social media has messed with it. And you see it clashing quite a bit. Now, those of us from Jamaica, we’re like, “But the person died. Mi (I) nuh (no) can tell everybody say di (the) person died?” No, actually you can’t. It’s not your place to say who died. You need to wait a certain amount of time. You have to wait for A, B and C to happen before you go and say that this person died. So, in as much as the traditional protocol are beautiful to watch, if you’re not from it, it’s a little hard to take. And you do have to watch yourself quite a bit. I wouldn’t say that, it’s not that I don’t like it, but it’s harder to get used to. Yes. That’s, that’s it.

Xavier: Well, that’s very interesting because you’re seeing some of the similarities. You know, the proverb that came to mind was, ‘children to speak when they’re spoken to.’ That’s the first proverb that came to mind when you kind of said that.

Ruth: And you very much see that here. But yes, there’s a good and bad side to everything. Yes.

Xavier: Well, here’s my next question. So when you go abroad and even when, you know, I travel abroad you get this, what’s your funniest moment when someone discovered, you know, a Ghanaian discovered that you were Jamaican. What was it, what did they say? What did they do? Was, you know, you must have one of those moments where they said, “You’re Jamaican” and something may come after that?

Ruth: Okay, well I used to have that.

Xavier: And you may not have many of them. You may not have many.

Ruth: I don’t have many but there are two common ones. I used to have locks and they said, “Yeah, man, all Jamaicans have locks.” Of course, they have that stereotype. But I would always get, ‘You don’t look Jamaican,’ because they assume that everybody’s darker-skinned. The whole concept of an interracial country, like Jamaican where we’re predominantly black, but every now and then you see a hint of this and a hint of that. They’re not used to that here at all. Ghana is rather homogenous. So having the whole mixed thing, in fact here, they still call kids who are, let’s say they’re half white or half black, they still call you half cast. So there’s a whole old school, what we consider to be an old school conversation around that. So they struggle to wrap their brains around that, unless they’ve traveled. The other one that I used to get quite often and it would make me laugh.

I thought the joke was on the person, not me rather, was, I would bump into guys who might’ve studied overseas and they might’ve had a Jamaican girlfriend overseas, and then when they’d hear that I was Jamaican, you’d see them, their eyes kind of get watery. I say lord, tek (take) time nuh (no) man. And inevitably, they had met Jamaicans and whatever, but tradition got in the way of anything ever evolving because of their traditional gender roles. There’s a tradition of what happens when I bring her back home, whose will the children be? Because if you’re from a matrilineal system, then the children belong to the mother. So, people would be scared that somebody like me would come and have children here and then would leave with the children. Because matrilineally, our kids belong to my family and not my husband’s family.

Xavier: Oh, wow.

Ruth: Yes. So, even in terms of inheritance. God forbid, touch wood, that something should happen to my husband. But in traditional Ghana, our children wouldn’t even inherit from him. They would only inherit from me, but that’s changed, but that’s to show you the traditional system that I keep bucking up against. I understand it, but it’s there.

What’s It Like Being a Jamaican Living in Ghana?

The Ghanaian Matrelineal System

Xavier: Wow.

Ruth: But in terms of those wow Jamaica moment, yuh (you) get the Usain Bolt, yuh (you) get the Reggae. Look, when I met my husband, my husband knew more reggae lyrics in 87, than I had ever known in my entire life. It’s wasn’t necessarily Bob Marley. It was Black Uhuru, Steel Pulse. It wasn’t even, Bob Marley, yes, but there were others who were also important. So, I always get people wanting to make that connection.

Xavier: Well, it sounds like it was almost seamless, as I said. Some of the stuff you’re saying, you’re not getting a lot of the stereotypical, I’d say.

Ruth: Yes.

Xavier: So, my next question is this one, what was the biggest adjustment there? And again, we kind of touched on it. It almost sounds like it wasn’t as bad and you talked about the, gender roles, and so on. I don’t know if there’s anything else you have to add to adjusting that.

Ruth: Yes. That one is big. I’ll tell you another one that is big. So, tradition here reveres time. There’s a lot of reverence for the passing of time. And really people do believe, ‘for everything there is a season.’ It’s almost biblical. How this translates is that, people don’t speak and share their information with the speed at which Jamaicans speak and share information. So, Jamaicans and other cultures too. Jamaicans, we just put everything out there and we just speak our mind. That is like the biggest sin in Ghana. You do not put everything out there and you do not speak your mind, just like that.

Xavier: What?

Ruth: There’s a time. No. So me and my Jamaican crew, oh lord we get into trouble all the time. Lord have mercy.

Xavier: What? Because we’re known for ‘If wi like yu, yu gonna know it.’ (if we like you, you are going to know it)

Ruth: The biggest sin in Jamaica is what?

Xavier: You going to know it.

Ruth: In Jamaica the biggest sin is what? Hypocrite.

Xavier: Right.

Ruth: Yu (you) cannot be a hypocrite, right? So, our Jamaican belief is truth, at all costs. Ghanaians believe in peace, at all costs. So, if it means that you have to hide the truth to maintain peace or to not ruffle feelings, then people will hide the truth and they don’t consider it lying. So that’s why I’m hesitant to use the word lie. You know, Jamaican would say, “A lie yu a tell man, a lie.” (“you are telling a lie), No. They believe that if you’re maintaining peace, it’s okay to delay the truth or to color the truth. So for example, if a relative dies, your own relatives could take a week to tell you that somebody important, somebody close to you has died because they don’t want the shock of it to hit you.

Xavier: Wow.

Ruth: Another thing is, and where we run into this all the time is, if a plumber comes to the house and they say, “Boy, you can fix this pipe?” “Yes, man. Yes. Ma’am. I can fix it.” “When yuh (you) coming? Yuh (you) coming tomorrow?” “Yes a coming tomorrow.” Tomorrow pass, the next day pass, the next day pass. So finally, when he comes, you say, “So why you never tell me?” “Bwoy (boy), a never want to upset you. So that’s classic. People will hide the truth so as not to upset you. If I said to you, “Xavier, bwoy (boy), mi a (I am) get married next week enuh (you know), yuh (you) coming to the wedding?” As a Jamaican, yuh seh, “Bwoy mi have sumn book fi next week so, a cya come.” (you say, boy I have something book for next week so, a cannot come). In Ghana, so that’s what I would do in Ghana. I would tell you the truth straight up. Mi seh, “No, bwoy mi book already yuh know. Mi cya come.” (I said, no boy I book already you know. I cannot come). I Here, you’d find that people would rather say, “Oh, that’s nice. Oh okay.” And you think, you interpret commit commitment to it. But no. They actually know right at that point that they can’t come.

Xavier: Wow.

Ruth: But there’s the spirit that says, ‘It’s okay not to say, all right now, we can say that later. All we do is not show up and then afterwards apologize. So, that is typically, and I speak with lots of Jamaicans about that. You will hear Jamaicans who aren’t married to Ghanaians or who aren’t, who haven’t been there for a long time missing that a lot. They just don’t understand why the truth seems a bit delayed or seems a bit colored. Because for us, that’s such a big deal in Jamaica to be a hypocrite.

Xavier: Wow.

Ruth: So that’s a hard one. Very hard.

Xavier: Wow. That’s very, very interesting.

Ruth: Yes.

What’s It Like Being a Jamaican Living in Ghana?

Xavier Murphy speaks with Ruth Kwakwa about living gin Ghana

Xavier: Because maybe now that explains the other side of, the DNA results that I got, which says Ben in Ghana and Nigeria. We’re, again, you know, I think in some places the Nigerians, they seem like the type that will tell you like it is.

Ruth: Yes. So, we are much more Wiziwig. We are like, what you see is what you get. We’re kind of like the Nigerians. So Nigerians and Ghanaians in temperament tend to be very different that way. Ghanaians-

Xavier: Oh yes. You just spending, you know, the five days in Nigeria and the two days in Ghana, you could just see the temperament.

Ruth: Yuh (you) see

Xavier: -it’s just totally. Yeah. I didn’t have to spend years there to see that one. We saw it-

Ruth: It’s embedded somehow in the tradition of, you know, centuries. I can’t fully explain it, but it just is. The Chieftaincy System keeps it very much alive. The Chieftaincy System runs alongside the Government System the one that we’re used to, but they both have quite a — You know, even the Chieftaincy System has a significant amount of power. We don’t have anything to compare with that in Jamaica. Nothing compares with the Chieftaincy System, but it’s still very important here.

Xavier: Wow. Good Stuff.

Ruth: Yes.

Xavier: So food, let’s talk food. What’s the, if I’m coming to Ghana, I can’t say what’s your favorite, but what’s the thing that we must try.

Ruth: Okay. So, it’s funny because there’s the must tries that you want foreigners to start out with first, but it’s not necessarily your favorite, but there’s some entry-level kind of meals, which are generally more accepted or easier to stomach than others. So, let me give for the foreigner, for the Jamaican coming to Ghana, maybe you start with Jollof Rice, which Ghanaians and Nigerians always fighting over Jollof Rice.

Xavier: Who has the best?

What’s It Like Being a Jamaican Living in Ghana?

Jollof rice with fried chicken wings

Ruth: Who has the best Jollof rice? Which is a rice in a tomato base and it has meat and whatever, but it’s just very flavorful. And Kelewele, which is fried ripe, and I’m going to say it, plantain. So be very clear. All of us over the side, we don’t she (say) plantain, we say plantain. So, you can decide, which is the right pronunciation, but it’s more people calling it, plantain and plantain. So I don’t know.

So anyway, so right planting or planting cut up with ginger and everything. It’s a snack that you eat on the road, but first-timers love it. Now, if you’re not a first-timer and you already used to the place, and I would say, everybody should try it, is Fufu. So, Fufu is a mix of cassava, typically cassava and planting, green plantain, planting, mashed to a sticky kind of, pulp. Kind of like the consistency of chewing gum, but it’s hard to imagine a lot of chewing gum. It sits in a soup, in a very spicy soup. So, if you imagine raw dumpling. Before the dumpling boil, it has that kind of consistency, which leads me to think that that’s where our concept of dumpling came from. But it’s very starchy and it just sits in the middle of your soup, and you eat with your hand, and you’re not allowed to chew it.

So, that’s a very hard thing for foreigners to get used to it. You pick at it, you put it in your mouth and you don’t chew it. You just swallow it, just like that. But if your parents always told you that you have to chew your food and that you must swallow chewing gum, it’s a very hard concept to get with. But once you get it, you’re there. So I like it with peanut soup, with groundnut soup. And the other thing is dasheen. Is a stew that they call Contumre or Palaver Sauce, which is actually dasheen leaves, cooked down with a smokey fish, cooked with Palm oil and wi (we) eat it with green, boiled green plantain, like how Jamaicans eat boil green bananas?

Xavier: Right.

Ruth: They don’t eat boiled green bananas here. They eat boiled green plantains here.

Xavier: Oh, wow.

Ruth: Yes. So, that stew with that, and yeah. But it’s all very tasty, very peppery, very flavored with different smoked fishes. And I think that that’s why we have this whole salt fish story going on. Because Ackee came from Ghana, but Ghanaians typically don’t eat ackee. But the way we flavor it with salt fish is a way they flavor the majority of Ghanaian dishes are flavored with some form of smoked fish that is cut up just the same way we’d cut up salt fish.

Xavier: It’s interesting because I was just reading an article, you know, and people are trying to find– They know where the ackee come from, but they’re still trying to figure out how did the salt fish get into the ackee. You know, I think at some point we will we’re going to dig deep enough to find it.

Ruth: There you go. We will find that. Just so you know, so they eat Ackee here. A few people eat Ackee, not many people know it, but it grows all over the place. But people eat it raw. The people who do eat it, eat it like a fruit. They know which parts, they know that it has to open, as well. And they know that you don’t eat the red bits and the black bit, but they eat it. Yuh si dem (You see them) picking from a tree and just eat it. Mi nuh (I don’t) get there yet. Mi fraid (I am afraid), but people do and I– Yes. Anyway.

Xavier: Winding down and here’s one of the questions. What’s the attraction or place that if I come to Ghana, I should visit? Number one place that you must visit?

Ruth: So there’s the obvious, which is the castle, which is where the last, you know, one of the castles, which was the last point for enslaved people. But I hesitate when people ask me this because Ghana is not an attractions, a Memorial, a museum type place. That whole concept, I think, is a Western concept. I would say the total Ghanaian experience is to climb the stairs above a market area and just watch how people move. Listen to them, listen to how they interact. I think the experience in Ghana is much more– Which one is it? Not sensuous, sensual? It calls on your senses much more than many other countries. It’s one of those-

What’s It Like Being a Jamaican Living in Ghana?

Slave Castle Ghana

Xavier: I don’t mean to interrupt yuh (you) but it’s funny because we went to the slave castle and that was good. And it was emotional. And it, I mean-

Ruth: Yes. It does that to you.

Xavier: -it’s emotional. I think every, black person, every person of color, every person, even white, it don’t matter.

Ruth: Just see to understand.

Xavier: You need to visit. Okay. I tore up like a baby. But let me say this on the flip side, and you said something that was very interesting. After that trip, we went up to a park in the hills-

Ruth: Kakum!

Xavier: I don’t remember the name of it, but, you know, I know there were a lot of kids around, it seemed like, you know, it’s a day trip for kids and I don’t remember the name of the park.

Ruth: Kakum Park. It was, it was near to the castles?

Xavier: It was near enough to the castles. Yes.

Ruth: So it’s Kakum Park. Yes.

Xavier: It was about an hour away or, yes, about that. Maybe a little bit more, I don’t know, but it wasn’t too far. I just sat there and just took in my surroundings, just like you said. I just sat there and took in the surroundings of the kids playing, the adults, the whatever and we did basically nothing. We ate, you know, we went up, they had these trees that you that-

Ruth: The canopies?

Xavier: The canopies that you go up on the trees, but the best part for me was just listening and just watching the people and it was just amazing to me.

Ruth: Yes.

Xavier: There’s nothing else. I mean, it was just amazing.

Ruth: You just to absorb it. It’s like, you know, there’s this Jamaican guy here, Audley Morris. Who the first time Audley came, I ah she (a said), come, yuh (you) have to go to a market. What people don’t realize is that the open market is what is used by the majority of people here. I think the last figures I saw were 70 something percent do their main shopping in open markets. Their open markets are like Coronation times 20. So you get lost in a maze of market and that’s where, that’s the heartbeat of Ghana. So, it’s not an attraction per se, but if somebody came to Ghana and didn’t go to a market, not the craft market, not a tourist market, the market, which is like the mall for locals, then you’d be missing the whole, you’d be missing the whole beat. You’ll miss how powerful women are because women run the markets, that’s their business, and you can be a millionaire on the market. So, in terms of attractions, come and see a market come and be in a market.

Xavier: All right. Final question. What do you miss the most about Jamaica?

Ruth: Apart from patties? Yes, there is nothing like patties here. I miss the beach and it sounds weird because we’re on a coast here, but our beaches are different and there isn’t a beach culture here. So, Ghanaians are very conservative with showing their bodies. So if you are going to be lying down on a beach in a swimsuit, you will find people coming home from a funeral, staring at you, kind of thinking, ‘what are you doing?’ So they don’t tend to display their body, to design clothing, to display their body like that. So even though Jamaicans might look at seh, “bwoy dem mek dem clothes tight eeh,” (say, boy they make their clothes tight huh) because they do make their clothes tight here, to show their form, to show their body. They’re very proud of their shape, but it’s covered. So, you don’t see people walking around, grown women walking around with their thigh [sound break] is showing or was– and I miss having a whole beach culture saying, “let’s, come wi (we) go beach nuh (no)?”.

Xavier: Right.

Ruth: I mean, it’s generally younger people who do it. And of course I miss family because we’re far, and I wish we had a direct flight, what can I say.

Xavier: All right.

Ruth: But yes. Thank God for the internet. That’s all I’m saying. Whatsapp.

Xavier: So, any closing thoughts if someone said, “You know what, I’m moving there,” any closing thoughts? And I think you’ve covered it all. I think you’ve covered it all. But any, maybe one tip you’d seh (say), if you’re moving here, what would the one thing you’d seh (say),

Ruth: I tell this to, African-Americans as well, because we come with the same quest for Ghana. Listen a lot and talk less. Because we talk so much relative to Ghanians, we’ll miss the nuances. We really do. I think there’s so much to see that you just have to silence yourself and silence the critique, save the questions, and do ask them. But don’t sort of show up here and fire away, brap! brap!. “And why they doing this and…?” We don’t get it. Ghana is not going to be delivered to you on a plate like that. It’s not that obvious, but if you keep quiet, you can hear what Ghana is and hear what it represents. Anybody thinking of moving here, please visit first. Don’t do this whole kind of “bwoy (boy) mi (I) just going up and…” No. Nobody does, don’t do that. So come connect with one of the Jamaicans here and have them sort of introduce Ghana to yuh (you).

Xavier: Well listen, Ruth, I appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to tell us about Ghana. It was very enlightening. I’m dying to get back. I’m looking forward to, as you said, to “wheel and come again.”

Ruth: Wheel and come again. I’ll introduce it to other Jamaicans and we’ll have a blast just moving around.

Xavier: Well, thank you and blessings to you and your family and to all the Jamaicans there in Ghana. And we appreciate you spending the time. Thank you very much.

Ruth: Yes. Thank you for this Xavier. Thank you for the opportunity.

Photo Source: DepositPhotos

About the author

Xavier Murphy