Natural Hair and Other Kinky Stuff

Bugs ARGH:Adjusting to life in Ghana

In honor of Ghana’s Independence day, I am sharing the experiences I had there in 2009. My life was forever changed by this country of hope, turmoil, and love


My room-mate thought I was crazy and paranoid for spraying my sheets as much as I did. I used bug spray and Lysol constantly. She even asked me: “What are you afraid of catching?”

Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time around me knows how I am about sleeping anywhere besides my bed. I even take a satin bed sack with me to places in the US and I am not on good terms with hotel beds.

Hanging clothes to dry

Hanging clothes to dry

Anyway, after my comments about bugs (which seem to be everywhere), she decided to check her bed. Much to her surprise, there were beg bugs in between her fitted and flat sheet. She then realized that my warnings were not in vain. They may have come from the mattress itself or from the thick blanket that was handed to us at check in. The blanket and pillows issued are stored in the corner of the lobby. They are not covered. And who knows if or when they have been washed….

Our room is like a basic dorm room in the states. It has double twin beds, two desks and book shelves that separate the room. I have enough space. However, the bug issue makes me very nervous. I purchased a mosquito net to place around my sleeping area. I have sprayed the cracks and crevices with RAID. The white walls in the room are stained various colors. In short, the cleaning practices in Ghana are definitely different from those in the US. Cleanliness is approached slightly differently. However, people strive to be well kept and as clean as possible despite the open sewage, litter, and animal dropping prevalent in some areas.

Student housing at the University of Ghana

Student housing at the University of Ghana

I have not found any bleach yet, however, I was able to purchase Dettol which is an antiseptic. The smell alone makes me happy. My mom uses it and she got that practice from our Caribbean ancestors. In a few days, I will use this and powder laundry detergent to wash my clothes by hand. I wish that I would have packed a pot or tea kettle. There are hot plates available for us to boil water but the small pots are about $17.00.

The community showers are not all that bad. The water is not warm or hot at all. That is usually ok because the cool water is perfect for the hot weather. I definitely am adjusting to the new environment. And though, it may sound if I am complaining, I can honestly say that the culture, people, food, and courses make it all worth it.


A few essential items

A few essential items


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