Monday, July 11, 2011

Ghana: Land of the Bobbleheads

Don't be fooled by the smiling face, he is thinking, "Don't bother me, fool. I will do it when I do it."

When I first moved to Ghana,  I would often see expats get nasty with the locals. They would be raising their voices, waving their hands in an animated way and be all red in the face. At that time, I used to say to myself, "Why are you being so nasty? The Ghanaians are such a friendly people." Now seven weeks into the game, I have learned that in order to get stuff done, sometimes you have to be nasty.

Seven weeks has taught me that Ghanaians, like many people on Capitol Hill, are some of the most passive-aggressive people you will ever meet. These are people that instead of having a direct conflict, they will smile and nod their head over and over, only to walk away and try to screw you. Thank God, I am aggressive.

Example, the other day I take a taxi. Coincidentally, I had this same driver the first week I arrived in Ghana. I tell him where I am going and of course, he starts to bobble his head, or nod, it up and down. Ten minutes into the ride, I ask if he know where he is going. (Sidenote: I may not have lived in Ghana forever, but I do know how to get to certain places. I also knew he was trying to take me ten minutes out of the way for extra taxi fare.) He says yes, five minutes later we pull up to a hotel.....when I said nightclub. WTF? So then I have to lay into him, letting him know I am not paying extra for his mistake and he is wasting my time and his too. Ten minutes later, we show up at the place that is should have taken us 10 minutes to get to. You may say extreme, however, this is not the first incident I have had like this.

I have learned if you are friendly here in Ghana, especially in business, nothing will ever be done. They will nod their head all day and say yes, massa, but no progress has been made. Then when you confront them again an ask what is taking so long, they will again smile and bobble their head and say yes, massa. Don't be fooled though, they still aren't doing it. It is not until you get nasty and harass them all the time that they finally produce a finished project. Smiling and nodding the whole time. (Sidenote:They are only this nice to foreigners, they will cuss another Ghanaian out quick and tell them it will be done when it is done.)

Although, the image of the bobblehead is funny, I must admit they are definitely more fun to play with than interact with. Well, let me go, I have a lot of heads to watch nod today.

Until Next Time. Smooches.


  1. its prob b/c they know ur american, i mean that happens in New York.

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