2019 Fall CIEE External Programs Ghana Imani Pugh

Feeling At-Home While Abroad

I landed in Accra with my family about a month ago and the time is already flying by. My mother and two younger sisters flew with me to “drop me off.” It was nice to spend time with them and do a family trip before the summer ended. I remember being worried that traveling with them would overwhelm me, but they made the initial adjustment smoother and helped me feel less alone in the move.

From one family to another, my new home environment has been wonderful thus far. I moved in with my host family on August 8th and so many things have contributed to how comfortable I feel here. My host mother is Auntie Grace, a sweet and caring florist. The house has a beautiful garden that brightens my day, every day. The people I’ve met so far are amazing. Ghanaian people are so welcoming, I’ve heard “Akwaaba, welcome home” so many times and I have nothing but gratitude for everyone who has wished me well and made me feel at home here. Almost everyone I met within the short amount of time I’ve been here has invited me to their homes for a meal and offered to look after me while I’m here. I’ve also noticed that people are genuinely caring and pray for the best for people. Another important thing I noticed is how people are hardworking and laid-back at the same time. They somehow remain easygoing amongst the hustle and bustle of the city and suburban areas. That aspect of this community has helped me adapt with ease and patience.

I feel at home here because for the first time in my life, I’m living in a place where people of my skin tone are the majority. Of course that doesn’t mean we’re all the same, but it’s a big deal for me to see people who look like me in the city, in my classrooms, and in mass media. I’m looking forward to further reflecting on this aspect of the experience as the semester continues.

Lastly, I feel at home here because I’m never hungry. That sounds like an exaggeration but I’ve been consistently well-fed every day. Some of my favorite dishes so far are Red red, Jollof rice (of course, it’s a staple), and Kontomire which my host mother plants in her garden. These parts of my experience here have already made such an impact on my overall outlook on life. I’m well-rested, my skin looks spectacular, and I’m learning so much every day.

I’ve described this opportunity as being able to study the diaspora from its source and analyze all layers of this rich culture. I have also been able to ground myself in a community and certain activities here. Whether it’s dance, music, film, or just social interaction, I know that I can find things that interest me and help me grow while I’m here. I’ve found things that remind me of home while also trying a lot of new things and expanding my comfort zone. I can’t wait to see the personal growth I’ve achieved at the end of this transformative semester.

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