Since President Nana Akufo-Addo declared 2019 as the Year of Return, several people from the global African diaspora have heeded the call and made a trip to Ghana. Most have come to explore the history, heritage and culture and have life-changing experiences as they return back to their respective homes in the Americas, Europe and beyond.
For one couple, the President’s speech inspired them to uproot their family and move to Ghana. “We were very inspired by the Year of Return and moved to Ghana just over 2 months ago,” said Anna Acheampong. She said they couldn’t wait when they saw the door was open. She and her husband are both of Dutch-Ghanaian heritage. Both have fathers who are Ghanaian and mothers who are Dutch. Growing up in Holland as mixed-race children came with its challenges, but it also had its benefits. The couple said they were able to have the best of both worlds.
Both in their early thirties, Anna, who worked as a Social Worker in Child Protective Services, and her husband Kevin, who is a Corporate Account Manager, recently moved to Ghana to not only experience life there, but to also expose their children to a different way of living. “I think we are settled now and we’re trying to relax,” she said. “When we told our friends and family that we wanted to move to Ghana, they would always ask us, ‘Why do you want to move to Ghana?’…and now that we’ve made the move, we get people asking questions like, ‘Do you have electricity?’” …she laughed.
Anna said she couldn’t believe that people still thought that a modern lifestyle can’t exist in an African country. She says it’s largely why they decided to start posting videos on YouTube. She and her husband wanted to show their friends back in Holland, what they were experiencing on a day-to-day basis to see what their new life was really like. “With our videos, we are trying to show that what people think, is not the way Africans live.” She says they were concerned about the stereotypes that exist about Ghana and that inspired her to create content that shows another perspective of the country.
Their two children, ages seven and three, have had their ups and downs. “One of the biggest challenges is they don’t speak English. They are gradually learning,” she said. “The older one has had the most difficult experience as she is having a hard time letting go of her old friends in the Netherlands.” She said during their research on moving to Ghana they noticed a gap when it comes to information available. “We were looking for content to show our kids how things would be in Ghana and we couldn’t find it anywhere. Through our videos, we are trying to motivate other families that are thinking about making the same move. We also want to show things from the perspective of a child, which, we couldn’t find anywhere.”
Anna said that when she was growing up in the Netherlands, she would often go to Ghana on vacation with her dad, but she was never really free to do what she wanted. Her family would keep her from exploring and she didn’t get a real feel of the country. It wasn’t until she and her husband came to Ghana together for the first time that she saw Ghana in a whole different light. “That was the first time that I really saw and experienced Ghana. It’s what I believe I should have had when I was growing up,” she said. “We want to give our children what we missed out on.”
She said that Ghana does have its challenges, it’s not perfect but you have to find a way to make it work. “You have to try to make it nice for yourself,” she said. “We found a house with a pool so our children have something nice to do every day.”
This was important to her because Ghana lacks the public playgrounds that they enjoyed in the Netherlands. “We also do a lot of things with the other kids in the neighbourhood.”
After a short time living in the country, they are constantly having new experiences and enjoying every minute of it. She said that every day is a learning experience and they are enjoying sharing it all on their YouTube Channel Acheampong Adventures.
Watch them on YouTube on this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1XHxRcQmpb-zTVgH9Xxtww
Written by: Ivy Prosper