Expat Life: Hilarious Services

by missfootloose on January 14, 2012 · 21 comments

in Culture and Customs, Ghana, Humor

Do you love to complain about the miseries of your expat life? About how nothing works and they don’t import your favorite brand of peanut butter and the streets are full of potholes. No? Me neither.

Well, I must admit to an occasional lapse when the internet doesn’t work.  Generally though, I find it more interesting to look for the amusing side of life in a foreign country. It helps to keep the budget for antidepressants at a manageable level.

The most fun I had living abroad was in Ghana, West Africa, where I actually lived twice, for a total of almost 8 years. (Our first daughter was born there, delivered by a doctor wearing a butcher apron and rubber boots, but that’s another story.) What I love about Ghana is not the steamy tropical climate, the malarial mosquitoes and the power outages. What I love most is the people.

Ghanaians are outgoing, down to earth and they say it as they see it. They have a fun sense of humor and it’s easy to joke and laugh with them. Of course the fact that English is the official language is a big bonus.

It is easy to recognize the Ghanaian character by looking at the posters, bill boards and shop signs you find everywhere along the roads and streets. You can even see it in their coffins. In the coffins of the well to do, at any rate.

Ghana coffins

Coffins: lobster, pineapple, beer bottle and others. Design your own.

So for your entertainment, here are some more photos expressing the Ghanaian character and culture.

Ghanaian restroom

Is this clear?

Do you need computer classes? Are you a Christian person? Here’s the place for you:

Peace and Love, but if you are a lazy man, don’t come here to eat. Click on photo for more fun info.

Peace and Love Spot

Are you suffering? Here’s the place to go:

Ghanaian herbal remedies

A cure for everything

And here a poster that needs no explanation:

Ghana AIDS poster

This is probably enough for today.

* * *

In what country did you most enjoy the people and the culture? Or what do you like most about the characteristics of your own people?

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah-Jane January 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I absolutely loved your photos and you really must have laughed a lot in Ghana. I was there for just a long weekend and took 500 photos of various ‘hilarious’ signs etc etc and the people were lovely. Here in Lagos we are having a break from a National Strike and were allowed ‘out’ today to shop after being in lockdown for 5 days. I had a giggle to myself that they take the weekend off from striking so they can watch football and go to church.


missfootloose January 19, 2012 at 11:40 am

Taking a break from striking so they can watch football and go to church – that is Africa for you! Yes, I had a good time living in Ghana!
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Leanne January 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Those shots are actually hysterical, are they seen as serious by locals or is it done in humor? What a place!
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missfootloose January 19, 2012 at 11:49 am

The signs are serious in the sense that they are not meant as jokes. It’s just the way the traditional culture works, which is not to say that there aren’t a lot of signs and advertisements expressed in the modern “Western” way as well.


Veronique January 14, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Excellent pictures ! they speak by themselves. I really enjoy your blog ! Thank you for sharing.
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Judy January 15, 2012 at 1:14 am

The funerals must be a blast with coffins like that! 🙂 What a fabulously ebullient people they must be.
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missfootloose January 19, 2012 at 11:45 am

Yes, funerals are often sort of like parties, with music and drinking. People will sometimes “crash” them!


Miss Mazor January 15, 2012 at 11:06 am

No food for lazy man, a great market idea for a name, I really laughed at the “Don`t get pregnant” sign, they sure do know how to speak to the people there.
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Jasmine January 16, 2012 at 5:35 am

I thought that where my husband and I lives is the funniest but reading your blog and looking at your photos just made me burst to laughter. The signage can’t be more visual. Perfect description. Plain and simple.

Thanks for sharing.


missfootloose January 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I’m glad you had a good laugh. I live to entertain 😉

So in what funny place do you live??


Karien January 16, 2012 at 10:07 am

It that sense the UK is sometimes like a developing country. I had a day of no internet this week 😉 And you should see the potholes. I have been in Asian/ African hospitals looking fancier than the ones here.
My husband says that all should help me feel at home. Haha, since I grew up in developing countries and they always make me feel at home. It is partly the heat (hate this january weather in northern europa) but more the relaxed mentality. The family feelings. The fact that tomorrow is as good as today. Less stress. More fun.
What I do like about the dutch is their straight-forwardness, honesty, and their efficiency. You get what is promised and you can always count on them.
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missfootloose January 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm

About potholes: I once couldn’t think of the word for “potholes” in Dutch, so I asked my brother what the words was for “holes in the road.” He thought for a minute and shook his head. “We don’t have those in Holland,” he said.


Karien January 16, 2012 at 10:28 am

And don’t forget: humour! The english have a terrific sense of humour. Which makes it al bearable…
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missfootloose January 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I love British humor! When I lived in Ghana the Brits put on “pantomime” plays and I took part. We found that the Brits abroad are often the ones to organize games and plays and do it with great fun and humor.


guyana gyal January 19, 2012 at 1:37 am

Count me in, I love British humour 🙂


Karen January 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm

This post was hilarious and makes me want to know more Ghanian people. I have one friend from Ghana here in Istanbul and I can’t wait to share this post with him. What a hoot! And the world needs more people who call it like they see it.
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missfootloose January 19, 2012 at 11:44 am

It’s the friendly openness of the Ghanaian people that really makes it nice to live there!


GutsyLiving January 18, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I was at a funeral yesterday and people remarked on how beautiful the coffin was. I think the lobster coffin, the beer coffin and all the others are amazing. It definitely puts a smile on your face when you attend a funeral. Great photos as usual. I wonder if it’s still the same today.
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missfootloose January 19, 2012 at 11:43 am

Oh, yes, it is still the same! This is the culture. The coffin makers are actually a tourist attraction. In the harbor town of Tema, on the main road there, you can see the coffin makers in their shops along the road and you can visit them and watch them work.


Lady Fi January 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Those Ghanians have a wonderful sense of humour – love all these signs!
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MaryWitzl January 20, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Those posters are absolutely marvelous! I knew several Ghanaians in Japan and they were all extraordinary people.

In Japan, foreigners often complained about not having the creature comforts of their own countries, which was puzzling; we were all there by choice, generally to make money. We were treated well, and the Japanese people were, on the whole, kind and helpful — and yet, people whined. On the other hand, the people with genuine criticisms of Japanese society or political/social policies have a right to express them. But then I feel the same way about America: keep the whining to a minimum, but the genuine complaints should be (fairly and compassionately) aired.
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