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Coronavirus: How it turned the tables on Ghana’s diaspora

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In our collection of letters from African writers, journalist and previous Ghana govt minister Elizabeth Ohene writes about how the prospect of residing overseas has missing its attraction in the time of coronavirus.

We utilized to say in this article in Ghana, fifty percent in jest, 50 % in truth of the matter, that you can obtain a Ghanaian in every single region in the environment.

I have listened to of Ghanaians in Greenland, Iceland and Papua New Guinea. I acknowledge, I haven’t heard about a Ghanaian in the Faroe Islands, which is my plan of the most exotic and faraway spot, but I would not be surprised if 1 of us is there.

From the center of the 1970s through to the conclusion of the 1990s, situation experienced conspired to transform us into a travelling people today.

Man with a Ghana flag
Ghanaians abroad are satisfied to flip out to help the nation’s sports groups when they travel

More than the past 20 a long time we have continued to do it, not for the reason that the items that employed to push us away still exist, but merely because it has develop into a practice and our minds are tuned that way.

The center lessons now attempt to deliver their pregnant wives to provide babies in the United States. They beg, borrow and steal to deliver their little ones to universities in the US and Uk and motivate the small children to stay on soon after completing university.

Then there are the adventurers between us who have usually taken off to go and check out their luck and search for fortunes anywhere is reported to be the latest land of gold.

‘Under the radar’ Ghanaians

No credible studies exist on just how lots of Ghanaians there are in a variety of countries around the globe, under no circumstances head what they are executing there.

Some of them, of study course, are flourishing the place they are, and earning Ghana very pleased. But there are a lot of of them who, it is greatly comprehended, are dwelling “under the radar” and making an attempt to “regularise” their paperwork and so do not advertise the point they are Ghanaians.

They may possibly be trying to stay unnoticed, but we know they are there. As a result of keeping down two or 3 careers, they send the odd $100 to assistance with a mother’s food items payments.

It is a badge of honour to say you have a relation overseas and we bend above backwards to accommodate their needs when it comes to generating preparations for funerals and attendant ceremonies.

All those between them who can journey, that is those people who have “regularised” their visa cases, commonly program and make the 10-working day or two-week vacation to Ghana to capture up with buddies and spouse and children, usually more than the Xmas interval.

When they are here, they behave as one does on holiday seasons and splash dollars all-around no-one hears about them acquiring a difficult lifetime more than there, and we see them as success stories. They are an inspiration for other younger men and women to test and escape from Ghana and go abroad.

Then coronavirus arrived.

The spots that youthful folks experienced been keen to give an arm and a leg to go to had been no more time eye-catching, as China, Europe and The us ended up strike difficult by the virus. The talk turned to bringing Ghanaians dwelling from abroad. Suddenly Ghana turned an desirable put.

The Ghanaians abroad have been nervous and they confirmed it.

“Please do not let what is going on in Europe and America materialize in our country” was the consistent chorus.

Woman sewing a face mask in a factory
Factories in Ghana are mass creating deal with masks

As the disaster has continued, the perception of Ghanaians abroad remaining the blessed ones has slowly and gradually been shifting.

It was not just the report back again in Could that 33 Ghanaians experienced died from Covid-19 in New York that shook most people, it was the rising desperation from Ghanaians abroad who wished to arrive back dwelling.



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