What is it I really miss from home? The climate, some of the foods, my friends and family and being able to walk down the street and not wanting to capture at least 3 things on camera. Yesterday, I went to the capital with my boyfriend. Apart from one evening in an Accra restaurant this was my first visit in the capital since I came. We shared a taxi there, which took no more than 30 minutes still we ended up in a different world. We found ourselves in the hip Osu district of Accra. A place where big cars and obrunis (white people) are as common as yellow-and-blue taxis and bibinis (black people) in all other corners of Ghana. At the popular spot “Osu Food Court” I had an opportunity to choose not only between goat soup and different types of yam, but also hamburgers, pizza, coffee and cake (!) and other western/American dishes.

So what did I choose to eat? After some two weeks of local specialities I have come to really appriciate like spicy soups and stews, fish and chicken, carbohydrats in sticky balls and fruits new to me I went with…Pepperoni Pizza. Why? I don’t even eat pizza all that often in Sweden. Later that day, I had the opportunity to discuss this phenomenon with a Swedish newfound friend. We agreed that even though we came to experience new things it is just too much novelties at the same time. The heat, the smells, the early mornings, the animals running about, the new sounds, the different ways of buying a fruit/taking a taxi/shaking hands and the fact that it is impossible to blend in…all this make us inclined to once in a while look for the well-known. Even if it is a sad Pepperoni Pizza.

In the picture new friends Annie and Johnny visiting in my mother-in-law's house.


So, weekend is coming to Ghana as well. It will probably be a calm time with a trip to the nearby capital, hopefully for some salsa dancing. Or maybe a stop at the beach. I feel good today after getting my hair re-braided and yesterday speaking Swedish with some newfound Swedish friends. It's something special with Swedes abroad...they so often impress me. So courageous, cool and cosmopolitan.

Next week, I will upload some of my own photos here. Stay tuned!

On being a good elder

Since my big move to Ghana, I have not only moved from being a single gal in a student room in Uppsala, Sweden to being a "sambo" with my boyfriend as of 4,5 years - no, I am now also an elder in an African household. This leaves me with a number of advantages...and of course responding responsibilities.

One of them is that I never have to do my own dishes, that is being done by a child in my household -"Abena, bra!" (- "Abena, come here!") But in order for this system to work smoothly, I must remember to leave some of my food on the plate as a small reward for the dishwashing person. This must be the exact opposite of what parents said to kids in the Swedn of the past "think of the kids in AFRICA and finish your food". Now I have to leave some for a kid in Tema.

Yesterday, I was watching soccer and drinking a soda, thirsty from a hot day I gulped it all up and was consequently accused of being a "bad elder" because there was nothing left for the child who came to collect the bottle...

Life is indeed a learning process.

On beauty

Coming to a new place, there are always things that stand out making you reevaluate your own home. Here in Ghana, there are many such things. Today, I will tell you about one.

Ghanaian women. They are really beautiful and they come in all sizes, I mean ALL sizes, there are the extremely thin ones, the medium sized, the short, the tall - but above all, the voluminous women. They are many, they are everywhere. It is clear they are viewed as very good looking. They sport their selves in nice curve-hugging outfits and do not seem at all self conscious about being too big. In music videos when girls come by the cool rappers' house, yes, they are all plus sized.

This makes the think of my own country. How has it affected me to constantly be confronted with the message of "thin is beautiful"? In an article on today, the story of how Ghanaian models wanting to make it abroad are turned down because of being "fat" was featured. Is this how we want it?

Since I came here, I have not once held my breath to look thinner. I have not stood on a scale. And I am telling you it feels good.

In the picture Akosia and her baby girl dressed in Swedish colors.

Intercultural hurrays!

This weekend SWEA (Swedish Women's Educational Association) on their annual meeting decided to award me with the Agneta and Gunnar Nilsson's Scholarship for studies of Intercultural Relations!

This scholarship permits me to fulfill a dream of mine, start doctoral studies in the important field of migration issues. I plan to attend University of Ghana just 30 minutes away from my current location. My local newspaper on Gotland published an article on this on Saturday. Below SWEA's motivation letter in Swedish.


Juryn för

Agneta och Gunnar Nilssons stipendium för studier av interkulturella

relationer har enhälligt utsett


till arets stipendiat.

Hon har i sin ansökan om stipendium för doktorandstudier vid Institute of African Studies vid University of Ghana för avsikt att skriva en avhandling om hallbar migrationspolitik, en fraga som berör de flesta länder idag pa grund av de olika situationer och villkor som uppstar i samband med att människor flyttar. Hon vill ocksa bland annat belysa problematiken brain-drain och brain-gain samt visa att migration även är en genderfraga, det vill säga innebär en risk för kvinnor genom splittring av familjer och trafficking.

Kajsa vill genom sitt arbete bidra till att uppmuntra svenska studenter att söka sig till studiemiljöer i Afrika och fa till stand hallbara samarbetsprogram med Afrika i framtiden.

Imponerade av en ansökan präglad av intellektuell mognad och djupt samhällsansvar vill vi i Juryn gratulera Kajsa Hallberg till stipendiet samt önska henne lycka och framgang inom detta viktiga forskningsomrade.

I am of course very happy to get this chance and I must say I could not have imagined a better start to my stay in Ghana!

Who am I?

Few things make your feel of identity shake as much as when I child begin to cry from the mere sight of you. This happened to me here in Tema, Ghana he other day. I had been out all day expanding my horizons and testing my own limits (can I eat this? do I dare to go in here? Can I find my way home from here?) As I step in to the house that is now my zone of comfort and where my mother-in-law resides as well as the place were I take in breakfast (coffe, bread and fruits) and often dinner, an old friend is there to greet me. Her daughter who as only a baby last time I was in Ghana is running around with her cousin. UNTIL...SHE SEES ME...HER EYES WIDEN..HER MOUTH OPENS...BIG TEARS FALL DOWN HER CHEEKS. At first she is very quiet but then

We all laugh. But the child cannot be comforted. I try and talk to her. Her mother reassures I'm not dangerous. She can sit in her grandmothers lap. Still shaking from upset she now and then dares to take a peek at me.

Who is this fair creature with strange hair and a funny sounding language? What do my mother really know of her intentions?

Historically, the girl is indeed right to cry. What has the white person's missions in Black Africa been?

By the end of the visit, the small girl has stopped crying, but still makes sure she is at all times at a security distance from myself. Her mother ties the child to her back and we follow them out - in Ghana every visitor is followed out, crying or not - but after a few steps mother and child return.

The mother explains:
- She said she wants to hug Obroni (white person). I am quite surprised by the flip side to the situation. However, as i hug the little girl on her mother's back she starts crying again.

New favorite

The yellow mango
You bite into the sunwarm peel and the sweet thick juice comes out. Theady flesh, small so you keep wanting more!

Weekend fun

I have landed!

Right from the moment I touched African soil I have been enjoying myself and greeted people. We have been lunching, dining and drinking with various friends and relatives - all of them seem very happy to have me here. Coming back is a whole different thing. Just knowing a little bit of what to expect has helped a lot. Although the heat, guessing humid and around 30 degrees has been hard on me. Coming back to stay is also a wholly new experience. Knowing I will have time on my side to do and meet and greet demands a different attitude. I do not have to do everything today.

Ongoing is also an energy crisis and all of today, parts of Saturday and Sunday there was no electricity. That is if you do not have your own generator. Power is being rationed every 6th day, but in between rationing power also goes out. The power situation is right now the most pressing political issue in Ghana and articles like this one are printed every day. Since my boyfriend is one of the engineers working with building a new power plant, I have some interesting information and will come back to this topic.

Ma yenko Ghana!

Let's go to Ghana!

Here it is, the first day of my new life. I feel concentrated and a bit nervous. But well. Hell, I even slept a few hours last night. Once I woke up from the bed shaking and thought "they have a laundry room downstairs?" Soon I realized it was me doing the shake and noone doing laundry at 2 am...

6.10 pm Ghana time (20.10 in Sweden), my long trip is over.

Day before xmas

It isn't really xmas tomorrow, but this is the feeling I now have. Tomorrow, I get to open the great gift of reuniting with my man and breathing the dump, warm air of Ghana. Starting a new life...

Yesterday a heartfelt goodbye with the friends here in Uppsala. We started with a drink and continued with dinner in one of the student clubs. That time of my life is now behind me. It feels sad, a lot sadder than I had imagined even though the customer service at the student place as usual was LOL bad. "you need drinks WITH the starter?"

Talked to one of my friends about how its possible to even become closer to some friends when far away. P told me about a friendship that even wasn't that great in reallife, but over longdistance it was a kindered soul meet. Technology of today has a way of breaking down distances. But still, it won't be the same.


Here we go! I'm opening up the shop again to share my life with you invisibles out there in the virtual world. Once again, the reason is travellning outside of Sweden. This time I go to West Africa and Ghana and the town of Tema, close to the capital Accra. I'll be working and moving in with my boyfriend. To keep you all coming back here, I will tell you some interesting facts that form the background of my experience:

1. We will be living with my boyfriend's mother
2. There is an energy crisis in Ghana with much limited power (hope the Internet cafés work!)
3.This is my first expericence of living in a developing country, and I am moving there indefinetely...

...and right now my traveler's fever is haunting me. Did I remember to go to the bank? Send that form? Invite my friend Kerstin over? Did I pack my books? Send that email to Mr Rispoli?

I know what I did remember. Starting up my blog.
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