BIG NEWS: I’m moving to West Africa

I haven’t blogged in a while because I’ve been waiting. I had a feeling I would have some big news to share, and this definitely counts as BIG.

I am moving to Accra, Ghana in October. 

I JUST accepted the position. For one year, I’ll be the Communications Officer for Crossroads International and WILDAF (Women in Law and Development in Africa).

I am freaking out. I probably shouldn’t admit that but I am. I can no longer eat/sleep/think about anything else. I feel the exact same way I did when I was about to jump out of a plane. I am terrified and excited and I can’t believe this is happening.

I’ve always been interested in other cultures, and I’ve always wanted to experience LIVING abroad. I’ve travelled, sure, but living in another country is an entirely different ball game. This is my chance to learn what I want to learn and be who I want to be.

It will be hot. It will be challenging. It will be way, way different. It will change my life.

Ghana is a pretty safe country, and it hasn’t experienced the political instability that has affected other countries in the region. Apparently, it’s closer to the geographic centre of the world than any other country. It’s very hot and humid all of the time. Some people call it “Africa Lite,” whatever that means.

Basically, Crossroads International is the organization sending me over and sorting out my visas and such. They aim to link “Western” countries like Canada with the global south in order to facilitate greater cross-cultural understanding. They’re funded by CIDA (the Canadian International Development Agency), and they’ve been around for a while.

Once in Ghana, I’ll be working for WILDAF at their office in Accra. They focus on educating women about their rights and training them to take part in governance structures (helping them become paralegals, etc.). I’ll be writing stories about their successes, training others in design, creating communication materials, and more.

I always knew I didn’t want to live a boring life, and I want to use my skills to make a difference. At the end of my life, I want to know the short time I spent here meant something. I think this experience is my first step to that goal.

A year is a long time, but it will be enough time to feel at home (kind of) and get enough experience to head in the direction I want to go in the future.

I haven’t lived anywhere for a year straight since I was a 17 years old. I’ve spent every birthday since my 20th year in a different country. I’ll turn 23 years old in Ghana, and I won’t be coming home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It will be hard, sure, but changing your life is usually hard. Thank goodness for Skype and the Almighty Internet. Since “Cat Skype” still hasn’t been invented (uggh!), I will miss my kitties terribly (so much so that this sentence made me tear up). I will miss my friends and family too, but at least I’ll get to talk to them and write to them and tell them I miss them.

It’s only a 4-hour time difference between Toronto and Ghana, which is weird and totally awesome.

I’ll have the choice of either living with a host family or in an apartment. I’ll be able to choose my accommodation, and I’ll even be given some extra cash to set my life up in Accra. For the first month, I’ll be living in a temporary arrangement, giving me time to hunt for a place. There will be some other Canadians working with WILDAF, and it will be nice to hear “eh” once in a while. I’ll miss Tim Hortons though. Big time.

I’m expected to fundraise $2000, so expect to be annoyed by me in the near future via this very website.

I’ll definitely be blogging while I’m over there, though the reliability and speed of internet may make that a challenge sometimes. We’ll see.

Stay tuned!

3 Responses to “BIG NEWS: I’m moving to West Africa”
  1. Susan McNamara says:

    Congratulations Kelsey.
    Such an exciting adventure for you. I am so happy for you.

  2. precious says:

    I’m a Ghanaian living in NY , just happened to come across your post. Went to Ghana last year after 11 yrs. It shouldn’t be that much of a challenge at all, you’ll have access to almost everything as America. there’s a shop rite grocery store, kfc, almost any kind of food you like, internet is not a problem. it’ll be a bit difficult to get around as they barely have road signs and people are super nice. that’s abt it.

    g luck! and enjoy your stay.

  3. Camille says:

    I loveeeeed reading this! You know why? Because you just described my own feelings ! But for now, I have a bigger challenge than moving to Africa for a couple of months : : : Fundraise 3000$ !

    I hope you will have a wonderful experience… Let’s stay in touch ! From Ghana to Swaziland !

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