Getting settled in Accra

Nima roundabout was my very first landmark in Accra, and almost all my first week´s activities was concentrated around this roundabout.

My friend and dance instructor Stephen Osono, who made my arrival in Ghana smooth and wonderful, lives in this area. He took me around presenting me to family and friends – and showed me how to find my way. He is a professional dance instructor who works with Kusum Gbo Dance Ensemble in Accra, and he has also visited Norway several times to arrange workshops in traditional dance from Ghana. I have been dancing on and off for years now, and I´m really excited to get a chance to dance in Ghana also – all though it is also quite scary to start dancing with people who are borne with rhythm! I will tell you a big secret – Norwegians are not!

The first week I stayed in Frankie´s hotel in Nima – up the hill from the roundabout. I had a small room with a fan and a big, lush garden outside, and it was a silent place for being situated in this area. My first week was quite calm, I spent the time meeting people, walking around, getting to know the area – and I also went to the co-working office space that I planned to rent a space to work from every day. As I will be an online student, I need to make a good routine to get some work done, if not I would probably just lazy around getting nothing done. I also spent some time trying to find a place to stay, which is not so easy in Accra – most apartments are rented out for one or two year at a time, with rent paid up front. If you try to use a real estate company it costs money just to register with them, without even knowing if they have a place that may be of interest for you. I used facebook groups and Couchsurfing, and I found a good place to stay with help from Charles in Nima Walking Tours which I met through Couchsurfing – and I seem to be the only obruni (white person) who´s staying in Nima.

Nima is a suburb of Accra and is one of the poor areas, and it grew up as an unplanned settlement. The houses are simple, and the area lack proper sanitation systems. Most people stay in small apartments consisting of two or three small rooms, they have to fetch the water outside and they have to use the public toilets where they have to pay 0.3 Ghana cedi every time they visit. I was lucky and found a room in one of the proper houses in the area, just down from the busy Nima market, and now I have my own room in a spacious house, where I share the common rooms with the house owner Jazz and our barking friend the guard dog. So – I have a house, I have an office, and I´ve bought a mattress. I think I can declare myself settled in Accra!

Have you ever tried to settle somewhere for a longer period when you were travelling? How was your experience?

About the Author Elin

I´m an Oslo based web publisher with passion for communication, travel and a green lifestyle. When I travel, I prefer to go slow, sustainable, and “live like a local”. Why slow? It is about challenging the cult of speed, and to enjoy the small things in life and to live in the present.

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