“Run Malaria Run”

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I lived on and off my Ghana adventure for 9 months. If I add together all time spent there, there will be 5 months and a half therefore I consider myself a part time expat

Before that I lived mostly in Bucharest – Romania

How I moved there: Monday first day at a new job. Tuesday asked for a valid passport…hmm. No. Wednesday my passport is ready. Thursday on a plane to Ghana to stay 2 weeks. Including by b-day 🙁 or 🙂 still can’t decide.

Us in a tree. And there was place for 2 more

Us in a tree. And there was place for 2 more

If I were to describe Ghana in one word, that would be colorful due to all the traditional fabric that they use every where

The first thing a new expat needs to know when moving there is if you are white, you are rich, no matter if it’s true or not.

The language issue. In my case the language wasn’t’ a barrier, because they officially speak English. Officially that is… In fact the locals speak what you call “pigeon English”: a mix between local dialects and English words, but pronounced as they are written. From time to time they would speak in local dialect, one of the 20 + in the country’s territory, just to piss you off.

When I lived there I stopped having long drinks…way to expensive, more than 10$ a glass. Yes in Africa, EXPENSIVE.

The new thing I started doing was eating fresh and sweet pineapple, avocado, mango and drinking coconut everyday.

My biggest lesson learnt was that people are happy even poor, and God does it all, builds even skyscrapers 🙂

Some weird habits of the locals: sleeping anywhere at any moment of the day, 3 people working in a small shop, pee in full day anywhere, even in Accra city center and everybody loves reggae.

My biggest cultural shock was: the Shagging festival. First time in Ghana, locals told me that there is a nice festival in one of the neighborhoods. First day was pretty cool, kids coming to us and stare like they never seen a white one before. Touching and then run away. We were taking pictures of them and vice versa. Wow that is nice, we thought, let’s go the next day also, it was the hugging day, the locals said…But you see this hugging was not a hung at all, they were miming the sexual act, in the middle of the street. As we were during work hours and generally a little bit scared, my colleges and I had some bodyguard with us but… Even so, at one point I was caught between a group of young Ghanaians and group shagged. THE HORROR 🙂 Then somebody from our group took me in his arms and saved me from the crowd.

My funniest / weirdest / scariest experience was meeting one of Bob Marley sons, Rohan

What I miss the most from home was my BF, friends and the cheese.

My favorite dish/local food is spicy sausages.

Being an expat all in all was good. They are very friendly. Pace and love are the most frequent words that you here. Told you: Bob Marley is the king.

Open happiness, caution it can be very hot. No plugs in the middle of nowhere

Open happiness, caution it can be very hot. No plugs in the middle of nowhere

I got around the city by mostly by car or taxi; working there we had a car to use.

A normal day back then looked like this: going to work, do some shopping, go out to eat or drink…but not the normal days are the one worth mention…because you know, they are normal.

My view on people: very friendly and very lazy. One time I asked somebody why don’t you work more to earn more and to have what you want? Answer was: Miss, you see this sun? How can I work in this heat, I can die. And yes they sell everything everywhere. You can do your shopping in the traffic, while waiting at the traffic light. You can buy from food to clothes, from toilet paper to telephone credit

A story worth telling is hard to decide but here is my pick. One of the first nights there, rainy season. We were at the beach and time passed and the sunset come. Being rainy season means that is mosquito season too, and there, mosquito can give you malaria. So we were a group of 12 white people who started running on the beach and throwing our hands around our face to get the mosquitoes away. I guess we were pretty funny. A group of locals were walking on the beach, and in our crazy running and hand dancing we hear: run malaria run. Trust me, even with malaria threat just a pinch away I started laughing like crazy:) No malaria for me in the time spent there.

A beautiful beach close to Accra The most cool spinning desk  Fishing port in cape coast, former golden coast capital, the place from where slaves were leaving

A beautiful beach close to Accra
The most cool spinning desk
Fishing port in cape coast, former golden coast capital, the place from where slaves were leaving

What I will always remember from my living there: my friends Biggy – an Indian moved there for business and a DJ, half local half I don’t remember, besides of the fact that it was a DJ.

Going back there is something that I might want to do once 🙂



Elena Gavrila

I'm a Romanian who used to live most of time in Bucharest. But that changed a year ago when I started a new job. Since then I've been in Ghana, Serbia, Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Few years back I have lived in Turkey and some time in Italy but I've have never had a year like the last one.

Probably you are wondering what I do. I worked in a digital marketing agency based in Romania, but with a lot of political clients all over the world. Now I'm in the full pick of an electoral campaign :)

Since I can remember I wanted to see the world, therefore I played for some years with modeling but as my mother used to say I m more brain than beauty so here I am, a small glob trotter with my work. This is how I put on my travel list places that otherwise I would have never been able to see. Eager to see what’s out there for me next.

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