Ghanaian Hospitality: Expect a wedding invitation
This morning I watched my 22-month-old go off to his first occasion as a guest. Our neighbor's (with whose 3 year old Olu is quite close) invited him to be part of their daughter's engagement and wedding ceremony.
I was only invited to the wedding but Olu was invited to the engagement as well. I'm really touched by the gesture. Olu goes there several times a week to play and their son comes to us but to invite him to be with their family to mark such a special occasion is especially kind and welcoming.
I've never been to the inside of their house or compound although they are just next door. The nanny has and does as do their children. Often times I come home and they are watching TV in the living room or hanging out in the veranda. It always warms my heart to see Olu and their children together.
Last night they brought over the outfit they had made for Olu, a white kaftan to match the outfits that their children will be wearing. I wasn't asked to make a contribution for this (in the US you know the norm these days is for folks to invite you to something and ask you to pay for the cost of participating).
We got him dressed and Sompa's father (who I met for the first time today) picked him up and off they went. The nanny was also invited and they are all there now at the engagement.
As the car pulled off I was just so overwhelmed with joy and satisfaction. I'm doing the right thing by being here in Ghana. I'm a single mom and my son is growing up with in a community very similar to the way I grew up in Sierra Leone. I can not think of anything more hospitable than to have your neighbors treat you as family.
In the 5 years that I've been here other African nationals thinking of visiting or moving here often ask me about what it's like to live in Ghana. "Is it true that Ghanaians don't like foreigners?" Why that idea is out there I do not know but my lived experience is that like most countries in West Africa people will embrace you if you make yourself accessible, and if you're open with them.
Saint Olu in his wedding swag
Saint Olu and the father of the bride