How music kept me in Ghana for 3 years

by Helen
(Switzerland / Ghana)

Drum builders at work

Drum builders at work

In October 2006 I packed my bags for a 3-month stay in Ghana, West Africa. I never would have thought that I would end up staying much, much longer...


Like many others, I came to Ghana to work for a volunteering organisation. But soon after my arrival I met Kingy Mensah, a percussionist and drum builder, who introduced me to the "real" Ghana.

Despite the sheer poverty that I saw every day, I was fascinated by the different kind of freedom and quality of life that Ghanaians enjoy. To learn more about this interesting country and its people, I just stayed.

To do something fun and useful, I helped Mensah build a small business from the ground up. He started out by selling his drums in a small shop in the streets of Accra. As the business grew, the years went by. By the time we exported full container loads of musical instruments, I had already spent over three years in Ghana.

It has been an intense time that tought me many life lessons. During these years I fell in love with the rich musical traditions of this wonderful continent. African music opens up a whole new world to a Westerner. It is a fun way to learn about the culture, because it is so closely connected with African daily life.

I can only encourage people to visit Africa and to explore African music. Doing this with an open mind and heart, you will discover treasures and return as a truly rich person.

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