Wednesday 18 September, 2019

Lady NV returns to Ghana: How to prepare for first African Experience

Lady NV in a taxi van in Ghana.

Lady NV in a taxi van in Ghana.

- by Natasha 'Lady NV' Bynoe.

Is Mama Africa calling you?

Well if you're interested in travelling to the Mother Land - Africa, there are a few things you should know as you plan ahead.

Here's how to prepare, according to Lady NV:

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1. Learn as much as possible by talking to people from Ghana or the country of your choice and reading their newspapers online at least six months prior to departure.

2. Learn about the history and culture.

3. Come with a respectful mindset; do not come here with negativity in your heart and mind.

4. Get vaccinated for the Yellow fever, Polio and Hepatitis B.

5. Get your anti-malaria tablets. I prefer the once-a-week ones. They are more convenient than the daily type. For me I had no side effects. Take it according to what your doctor recommends.

6. Find out what are the entry requirements in case you need a visa.

7. Know the exchange rate from Barbados dollars or US dollars to their currency. In most African countries, it is preferred to walk with the newest USD $100 bill. The older the bill the less you will get. It is the bill that is for sale coupled with the exchange rate. (One Loop reporter learned this lesson the hard way in Jamaica as well.)

8. Be very careful when it comes to water. Drink only bottled water. Stay way from the sachets in plastic bags. I came down with a fever of 101 degrees after drinking one. Also, I highly suggest sticking to one brand of water. Make sure the bottle is sealed. DO NOT MIX WATERS. I mean do not drink one brand today and switch to another tomorrow. That is a recipe for a stomach ache.

9. Brush your teeth with the bottled water and stay away from salad. You can never know how they cleaned it.

10. Try to decolonize your mind prior to coming. So, as I mentioned before, it is best to read as much in advance, but use that as information to weigh against what you are experiencing. Trust me it is a lot of fun.

11. Leave your emotional toxicity at home. I mean do not come with a judgmental mind, and don’t calculate assumptions based on your culture. African cultures are very different and unique.

Get to understand and learn. It makes no sense to spend thousands of dollars to come here and not soak in everything.

12. Once here try to stay in a village for a minimum of one or two nights and meet the Kings and Queens. Visit areas that are of interest to you. 

Natasha Bynoe freelance contributor

I was born in the Bronx, New York City to both Barbadian parents. I was raised between NY and Barbados until 1991 when my Great grandmother died. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours (2014) and a Master of Arts in History (2017) - both from University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados. I'm an extremely proud alumnus. My area of specialization is in Diaspora Studies, West African and Transatlantic Slavery.
Currently looking for a new university to pursue my PhD in either History or Cultural Studies.

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