Desperate Housewives in Accra

Just to make it very clear from the outset, this post does not allude to the fact that I have recently purchased season 3 of the California TV series "Desperate Housewives" from a guy outside Koala Supermarket, but rather it is pointing to difficulties of relationships.

As a newlywed twentysomething expat, I have started to see disturbing trends among my friends in similar life situations here in Accra. Wasn't this time - after long years in the University library, impossible loves and zero money, but before kids and a daily routines so boring and wellknown we could also do them backwards - wasn't it supposed to be the time of our lives?

Obviously not. When two minds come to live under the same roof there seems to be more than a little adjustment to be done.

Some replay the same fights over and over again with their spouses (money, you-said-I-said, cleaning and laundry etc.). Some like to spend at least one night a week by themselves while I at times recent my husband for often coming home late from work. Others again can't seem to unite about how to furnish their home or if to watch Champions' League or Strictly Come Dancing (or instead make an early night).

Then we have all the cultural shocks: husbands who want their clothes ironed, you to attend funerals of people you have never met, or eat a bowl of fufu for dinner - every day! They are matched with wives who want to pay half the bill, feel odd about having to instruct a housegirl instead of starting a laundry cycle in the machine or spend a average Ghanaian monthly wage on foreign groceries each week!

Additionally, it can be noted that Ghanaian men seem to have little interest in taking out any parental leave (ok, there is no parental leave for men in Ghana, but at least my Swedish side feels that this somehow should be at the very least a priority for timing of the yearly leave). They also seem to be weary about parttaking in the birthing of a child with half their genes.

Some of us young spouses talk vividly about how important it is to work, not predominantly to make money, but to aviod becoming just a housewife - implying that our identities could be gone in no time. However, I don't think that is the problem. Our personalities, I think, are going nowhere. The problem is rather to be able to hold your tounge the hundredeth time you make a small sacrifice for the person you love knowing he is doing the same.

9 comments:

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

Awww, Kajsa, brilliant piece about a world I know so little about (being unmarried) :-)

I am just wondering what made you chose to post the pic...

Kajsa Hallberg Adu said...

Thanks my friend, glad to be able to enlighten you :-) The pic is a pastiche on the above mentioned TV-series (but acctually taken at the Accra Fashion Week earlier this year).

Yngvild said...

Wow. That was great. Thanks for saying something I might need to hear. Maybe my bf at least think I need to hear it, here I am sitting being annoyed he is late home from work :-)

Cynthia said...

Nice post.

I'm dating a Ghanaian (for the moment) and it's nice to hear a different perspective especially since right now...I'm not sure what mine is, anymore.

Maya said...

Really like this more personal piece which hits home with a lot of us. I especially like the diplomatic ending! But could we really annoy them as much as they annoy us? ;)

Yngvild said...

maya: no way... :-)

Emmanuel.K.Bensah II said...

I like your post--great! But please don't generalise about pat ernal leave--at my workplace, I get six weeks...for when I become a father!!!;-))

Kajsa Hallberg Adu said...

Ok, good news about the Ghanaian work market! Six weeks!

Maya and Yngvild, you are never annoying? Haha, I know for A FACT that's not true...

Amina said...

great post again!
It actually reflects all my fears and confirms that I might be better off single. I value so much my personal space and my biggest fear is to lose myself...
great perspective, especially attending ceremonies / family obligations where you don't know anyone

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