West African Returnee: I choose Ghana because I still want the 'American Dream'
When I moved to the US in 1998 almost 20 years ago, my parents had hoped it would give me an opportunity to live out the American dream. Today I believe that I still have a chance at the American dream only it is in Ghana that it will become a reality.
I have lived here for almost 5 years and while I may have considered relocating back to Sierra Leone a couple years ago, I know now that for what I want to accomplish in business, and for quality of life and peace of mind, that Ghana is the place for me.
No matter how low the cedi goes there is one thing that always keeps me believing that if I'm going to make it, its going to happen here, is the people. And by that I mean that Ghanaians are trying. Everyday I hear of someone doing something innovative, heartwarming, and or daring (I'm going to dedicate a new series to spotlighting these very soon). Young and Middle-aged people like myself carving out new paths and providing solutions to local problems. I mean Ghanaians are trying and thats enough to reaffirm my faith in this place everyday.
It is also though about the people who work for me. My employees are the heart of my business and they have become an extension of my family. They work hard, they are driven, they take the initiative, and they're just all around good people. These aren't people who were educated else where or who have lived outside of Ghana. They are home grown talent. For lack of a better point of reference I would say that they have the African equivalent of the protestant work ethic.
My Sierra Leonean friends ask me when I'm moving back home. They ask why I can't do what I'm doing in Sierra Leone in Ghana. I could be doing it there sure but right now as is Sierra Leone just can not nurture me professionally. The opportunities there for young people are also still few and far in between. When I do go to Sierra Leone to do business the challenges currently outweigh the rewards. I end up spending way more time putting out fires, dealing with personal vendettas, and running after payment, when I should be focused on strategies and business growth.
If I was still in the US a lot of people would not question my reasons for being there. However those same people don't understand why I am here in Ghana, and choosing to be here over Sierra Leone. The bottom line is I am in Ghana because I still want the same things my parents wanted for me when I moved to the US two decades ago. I still want the American dream and Ghana is currently the one place that is making that dream a reality for me.