Exploring the Unknown
After a holiday to Ghana, Jennifer and her husband Harry completely ruled out settling and raising their family in Ghana.
“All the reasons not to come back came to the bad roads, [unreliable] electricity and the lack of security,” Jennifer said of their family’s decision.
Today, the whole family (Jennifer, her husband, and three boys) have relocated from England to settle permanently in Ghana and they are in their third year. So, what made them change their minds?
“I wanted them [our children] to enjoy the kind of childhood I experienced in Ghana,” Jennifer said. “I grew up in a house with guava, mango, and coconuts, trees and lots of space to run around. There were lots of people around too. Sisters, grandparents, cousins and the extended family.”
“Raising African children in the Diaspora is tricky,” she continues. “You are trying to teach them the culture but not living it yourself. It was like a double life.”
Aside from caring for her family, Jennifer worked in asset management as a senior fund administrator for institutional clients. But she was no longer passionate about her job.
“Although I was very good at my job, I wanted more. I did not want to be another number.”
“It’s about opportunity. It’s about the future. It’s about exploring the unknown. It’s about untapped potential, in themselves and the country,” she said of Ghana.
Her husband was the first convert to embrace the idea to return and settle in Ghana. He made his mind after a solo trip to Ghana. When he returned to England, Jennifer got an email from him at work.
“What will you do when you move to Ghana?” he asked in the email.
She did not resist. She replied, “Customer service training; coaching; …”
From that day the decision was made and they started getting ready for the move in two to three years.
“The question then became, how will we survive in Ghana?” she explained.
“It couldn’t be any worse than when our parents moved to the west in the 60s,” they reasoned. Jennifer left Ghana when she was 11 and had lived in England for 25 years.
Preparing for the Move
In between the two year time span they set for themselves to resettle in Ghana, they made multiple trips to the country to look for accommodation, schools for their children, and for business opportunities. They also put their house in England on the market. However, it took longer than they had anticipated selling their house and also a lesser price than they were expecting. Two weeks prior to their move to Ghana, they shipped all they had, temporarily moved in with Jennifer’s mother, and Jeff went over to Germany to buy the car they would use in Ghana.
“It was time to go home and it felt right.”
Back in Ghana, Jennifer took a year off from work to help her family, especially her boys, to adjust to their new environment. Soon after she started her own business.
What business does she do?
“I help people and organizations to reach their potential or desired goals, in relatively the shortest possible time,” she explains. “We achieve that through their appearance, behavior, beliefs and mindset.”
Jennifer has covered much ground with her business. She has had great media exposure across the scope of platforms and generated some cash flow working alongside other companies and seeing her private clients on the side.
“You have to be flexible in Ghana. You have to always reinvent yourself and keep going. Never give up,” she said of being an entrepreneur in Ghana.
“I am in a great place and with the right help my business will take off. “
When asked how her children are faring with the new environment, Jennifer advised that they are fairly settled. They like the freedom, but crave for the guarantees and structure of England.
“They have a simplistic view of things,” says Jennifer. Her five year old said, “I wish Ghana was America, so that we can have paved roads.”
“Here [Ghana], they can play outdoors every single day. This is for their good and they are going to thank us [for the decision],” Jennifer states.
The bad roads, lack of safety and erratic power supply, which Jennifer and her husband wanted to avoid, have not gone away. However, her focus is now on the positive.
“This is the world we have created and we can change it any time we want. I focus on the possibility that one day it will stop.”