The dust kicked up in the market place fills her nostrils, and the beads of sweat come trickling down her forehead. The market is loud, hot, and bustling, but Myra Parks is enjoying taking it all in. Vendors try to tempt her with ripe mangoes and sweet pineapples. Women selling everything from smoked fish to plantains try to out-shout each other for her business. It’s a far cry from a comfortable, air-conditioned market in Los Angeles – almost another lifetime ago. But Myra’s not complaining. In fact, she’s never felt happier. Myra, her husband Del, and son D.J. have a new, uncomplicated life…in Ghana, West Africa. This is their story:

My husband and I had always wanted to move away from the United States and live abroad. Initially, we thought that the United Kingdom or Tokyo would be ideal countries to move to. But, after our son was born, we had a newfound desire. We wanted to know more about where we were from- our culture, history, and lineage — our “ROOTS.” After thinking and talking about this for some time, we knew there was only one solution: Repatriation.

“But why?” you may ask.

Upon completion of our post-graduate degrees, we thought life was going to be filled with great careers, fun times with friends, and a white picket fence with 2 kids and a dog. However, our careers as a sign language interpreter and lawyer left us no time for quality family time, hardly any real friends, and the harsh reality that student loans and mortgages don’t mix well. Luckily, we avoided the 30-year bondage (mortgage) and decided not to give up two kidneys and our first-born child for a house we would probably never own anyway!

“We wanted to live life, not just exist to pay bills.”

pin on a map of Ghana

We wanted to be in a place where we could spend more time together as a family and focus more on hobbies rather than paychecks. We also wanted to teach our son about how to pursue things that bring him joy and the freedom to use his time as he pleased. So, we decided we would sell all our possessions using our handy-dandy “Offer Up” mobile app and move to a place with such values.

Choosing Ghana as our future home was a no-brainer. I have always had a spiritual pull to Ghana. Being a native of New Orleans, I’m almost certain my ancestral ties stem from West Africa and most likely Ghana. Even if my ancestors weren’t from Ghana, they most likely passed through…or at least that’s what I feel in my spirit.

myra_farewell-dinner

Our farewell dinner with some friends.

When it came time to move, our packing process was very simple: If the item could not fit into one of our seven suitcases, it could not go. We had to let go of a lot of things, which we didn’t mind doing at all.

 “We were willing to leave behind everything, including family and friends, for a better quality of life.”

myra_first-trip-to-the-market

Our first trip to the market in Accra

One of the most challenging parts of leaving was to try and explain to our traditional, southern, African-American parents that we were leaving great careers and sunny California for a life in Africa. We heard everything from, “Don’t go over there and get Ebola!” to “They’re going to put voodoo on you over there!” The consensus was “Who in their right mind moves to Africa??!” We had to do a lot of educating when it came to family for them to feel comfortable with our move. Just goes to show how the media has done a great job of distorting the perception of Africa, where all you see is war, poverty, and disease! In the end, our families came around and even talked about coming to visit us in Ghana once we settled in.

Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park (KNMP) in, Accra, Ghana

Before we moved, we used online resources such as internations.org and Facebook to build our “village” of people on the ground in Ghana that could aid in our repatriation process. Ghana has a relaxed immigration process at the moment so getting long-term visas was extremely easy. Our housing was taken care of by a good friend that owns and operates repatriation transition apartments so we didn’t have to stress over housing. Honestly speaking, we didn’t have to worry about much once we arrived.

Cooking in the dark during one of Ghana's frequent powercuts

Cooking in the dark during one of Ghana’s frequent powercuts

We have now been in Ghana for a short period of time. Living in a developing country after living in the States is a whole new world. Not being able to access the things you want when you want them, can make you want to scream. Sometimes there is a strong urge just to get on Amazon.com and order something. But, then you remember Amazon doesn’t deliver to Ghana or many other African countries for that matter.

Additionally, we were not prepared to eat the same food with the same flavor profile every day. Eating spicy, tomato-based food all the time gets old rather quickly.

“I won’t lie: There are times where we just want Chick-fil-A (with the Chick-fil-A sauce…mmmmmm!) or Chipotle. We do occasionally miss the convenience of things like that.”

Nevertheless, our new environment is a very rewarding one. We spend our day doing the things we desire. If we want to lay around and play “UNO” all day with our son, that’s what we do. We’ve come to appreciate not having to punch a time clock or be on anyone’s time. We are creating a community here in Ghana which treats us as family.

myra-shopping-for-fabric-with-our-friends

Shopping for fabric with our Ghanaian friends

They are teaching us everything from how to make it out of the bustling food market without being ripped off or spending all our money, to surviving the long, sweaty, and packed ride on the “trotro” public transportation. Aside from trying to figure out what to eat every day, we are in the process of searching for land to purchase and hopefully we’ll begin building our home here soon.

By far, the move to Ghana has been most beneficial to our son. He’s becoming less concerned with digital distractions and discovering how to be content with just a soccer ball and a goal.

Repatriation is turning out to be the best move we could have made for our family and we are looking forward to all Ghana has to offer.

You can read more about Myra and her family’s adventures in Ghana on her blog therepatdiaries.com 

68 Responses

  1. Lamont Slater

    This was just awesome to read, knowing how everything just fell into place. It is a very inspiring story! Ghana, was already written for your family. Keep us posted out here!! Cheers!!

    Reply
    • Myra Parks

      Thank you brother Lamont for all of your support and encouragement. Ghana is definitley home but it wont be the only stop on the continent.

      Reply
      • Diana

        I’m so looking forward to my move to Ghana in 2019 I’m currently retired and wanna come home. After hearing your experience I’m definitely know I’m making good the right choice. Thank you so much. ❤❤Peace and Blessings

      • Myra Parks

        Please visit first for an extened stay before you make a final decision. Ghana is amazing but it isnt a cake walk. I believe you will love it but just visit first!

      • Naimika DeJean

        I so want to experience Ghana. I am a Math teacher. Please support in any way you can. I am from NOLA too.

      • Shonnie Davis

        Where are good places to start to make the transition. We are a family of 3 and are intrested in this as an option. We too did a lot of research into Europe, but reading a few articles like yours makes us intrested in this option. Thank you for sharing.

      • Joseph

        Thank you for your post, I too am visiting Ghana for my second time and also looking into retiring there. You are so right, one should visit first and kinda get a grasp of the region with it’s pros and cons. So far, the pros are winning me over. Beautiful people and very welcoming. Wil take wife and grown college daughter over later this year.

      • Myra Parks

        I think its great that you are planning a trip before taking the leap. Stay as long as you possibly can and try to operate as if you were really living there versus being on vacation if you can. Please keep us posted on your experience!

      • Pia Adeena

        Hey sister,
        I’m thinking of leaving the U.S in the next 4 years… after i finish my masters and settle all my debt. Can you possibly tell me about the financial aspects of living there? i’m a U.S veteran so i have a residual income to get me started. I do have a 10 year old and 4 year old…. hopefully they will be 14 and 8 this time (or younger!!) please hit me up. I’m tired and worn out being here. Due to my religion i believe i would have more freedom their as well, inshaAllah.

      • Cameron VANNOR

        I am looking to move there in 10 years and will visit there next year. I am from New Orleans as well! Any suggestions?

      • Vickie Bass

        Next year I want to make my exodus there. Great read!

    • Arleasia Lee

      I loved your story and I am looking forward to moving to Ghana. My friends live in Konongo-asante state. What do you know of the area?

      Reply
      • Myra Parks

        Thank you so much for supporting our journey. I dont know much about that area. Are you looking to move to that area?

    • Michele Bradford

      I am actually an American (African) My fiancé lives in Holland and he is Ghanaian and Indonesian. He is suppose to move to Florida in 2019 but I have been thinking about simpler living. I moved from the idea of a tiny home/RV to the possibility to moving to African.

      He has been there and was in love. Before we met that was his plan to move there. After much thought. I am thinking of moving to African with him instead of him moving to Florida to be with me.

      I have not told him yet but I have always want to learn and be part of my culture. I am looking forward to get more information so we can make informed decision.
      If I am not being to forward what do you do to support yourself there? Myra Parks?
      I think this would be one of the only major reasons I would have issues.

      I work at a Cancer Hospital in System processing.

      Reply
  2. Angie Moree

    I am so happy for you guys and even having the opportunity to connect in Ghana. People need to continue to hear these stories. Much love!

    Reply
    • Myra Parks

      Thank you Angie. We are so happy we had the chance to meet you. We are be as transparent as possible so people can make informed decisions about moving here.

      Reply
      • Toni

        hello my famiky an I are looking to move the end of the year and i am looking for someone who knows Ghana as an African-American family i have so many questions ….

      • Kizzy

        I have came to Ghana twice my husband is from Kumasi Ghana I would love to come and stay there my friends tell me the same thing are you going to be able to adjust to the different environment I am a USA citizen but I love being in Africa when I come

      • Myra Parks

        I think its a continent we all need to visit and stay as long as we can but we have to be very realistic when it comes to long term living.

      • AMANI RANKIN

        Myra I am trying to convince my husband of this move. I hear you say it’s relaxed. How is the job market? We would nees to work to buy land and build a home. Can you provide your friend’s info so we can look into the transition? Thanks

  3. Camille

    Congrats, such a beautiful opportunity and priceless experience. Wish your family well!!

    Reply
    • Myra Parks

      Thank you Camille! The memories we are creating right now are priceless indeed!

      Reply
      • Lisa

        Hello, Myra my name is Lisa and I am thinking about the same thing, I just wanted to connect to someone honestly, to visit and eventually make transition. Can we stay in contact,

  4. May

    I would love to know more about the “getting” there process. I have recently decided this is the journey for me. I’ve been longing for connection for most of my life.

    Reply
    • Myra Parks

      Hello May! You can follow us on our blog at http://www.therepatdiaries.com for information but the best advice we can giwve for now is visit first and make that visit an extended stay so you can get a real feel for life here in Ghana. Hope to hear more about your plans and help you however we can!

      Reply
  5. Monica

    I love Ghana. My husband is from Ghana and im Going back soon. Its an indescribable experience

    Reply
    • Myra Parks

      Thank you so much for joining us on our journey. Hopefully we will crosss paths when you all return.

      Reply
  6. Lea

    This is so inspiring & I can’t wait to visit once you all get settled in! I’m looking forward to both my kids being able to journey to Africa! We love you Myra! I’m thankful that Vee introduced us & im able to follow you & your family journey! Much love -Lea

    Reply
    • Myra Parks

      Thank you Lea for all of your love and support. Cant wait to host you all on this side.

      Reply
  7. Frank afenkhena

    Very interesting and i applaud your family for the Great Move but i was wondering and want to know how do you and your husband support yourselves financially? Any Jobs for both of you in Ghana to support the Family? Cheers.

    Reply
    • Myra Parks

      Hello! We have decent amount of savings, my husband is an attorney who does online legal work, I have a online shop on Etsy, and working on additional streams as we speak. We are also planning to invest in fixed deposits here in Ghana because they are pretty good interest rates on your money.

      Reply
  8. erma vance

    I’M SO HAPPY I FOUND YOU MYRA, YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ARE SO BEAUTIFUL AND VERY INFORMATIVE. I WANT TO COME TO GHANA TO VISIT AND MAYBE LATER TO LIVE ALSO. KEEP US INFORMED ON THE IMMIGRATION INFORMATION. I LIKE YOUR STORY YOU TOLD ALREADY. I HOPE THEY ARE NOT TRYING TO KEEP US BLACK AMERICANS FROM BECOMING CITIZENS THERE. ALTHOUGH, I KNOW PLACES LIKE THIS CAN GIVE YOU THE RUN AROUND EVERYWHERE. THANK YOU! AGAIN. 🙂

    Reply
    • Myra Parks

      Hello Erma! I am so glad you found us as well and thank you for following our journey. Please come and visit and stay as long as you can before making a final decison. We will keep everyone posted on our journey because there is so much information that needs to be shared. Thank you again!

      Reply
  9. Natasha Graham

    Omg I never knew this is absolutely AMAZING. I sincerely wish you and family a happy life Myra. We only have one life, love it to the fullest. Congratulations on your journey of happiness.

    Reply
  10. Yeye Akilmali Funua Olade

    Love your love for others wishing to come! Am 38 years in Yorubaland,Nigeria,having raised 4 of my children here based in the culture and language! What work did u do on the beginning and now?

    Reply
    • Myra Parks

      Thank you! In the beginning my husband was an attorney and i was a sign language interpreter. Now we are virtual entrepreneurs but also getting into agriculture here in Rwanda.

      Reply
  11. Jewel Jones

    Hi,

    Firstly, I really enjoyed reading your story and learning about your amazing experience. I have actually been giving moving to Africa some thought. Since my ancestry traces back to Ghana, Angola, and Nigeria, I am very interested in the culture and want to immerse myself in a new experience. How did you guys do this? What about jobs? How can I begin this process for myself? Please let me know when you get the opportunity.

    Reply
  12. Chris

    What a great story. My wife and I have really considered moving to Ghana permanently. We hoped to make a short term trip out there by summer of 2018 to get a feel for it. We have four kids and they love to travel to other countries. I would like to know how your son has adjusted to his new environment? Also my current job allows me to work from anywhere in the world and I thought what better time to make that move while I can still support my family. So with that how often do the power cuts happen? How long do the power cuts last? And my last question how well does the internet work?

    Reply
    • Myra Parks

      Hello,

      We are no longer in Ghana and have been to 10 African countries (including Ghana) since leaving Ghana back in April. We have decided to settle in Rwanda because it was the best fit for our family. We would love to chat with you all more about your decision to move to the continent. You can reach us at info@therepatdiaries.com. Hope to hear from you all soon.

      Reply
  13. Ama

    Hi I am needing to find out how to relocate to Ghana from USA. I have children under 10. I have a degree and I am looking for work. Or away to provide for my children. I sell beauty products in store and online that I hand make with black soap and shea. Do you have any info? Also can you elaborate on the repatriation apartments any resources would be helpful.

    Reply
  14. karen Clarke Wade

    It was so inspiring to read your story! I have been saying for years that I wanted to move to Africa. I probably jumped the gun because many said you need to visit first. In October 2017, I got off the plane in Ghana and knew I was home! The welcome from the Ghanaian people made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It was a beautiful thing! I wasn’t on a vacation, I was on a journey, a learning experience that I have never received in the United States. I still have a desire to move to Accra but it is difficult when you are a single person. I will continue to do my research and pray that one day I am able to do exactly what you and your family have done and maybe I can get a few more African Americans to come along!

    Reply
    • Marjorie Kahiga

      Hi Karen,it was nice reading your post..Well my daughter is also single in her thirties and she wants to visit Ghana and there is a strong possibility that she may decide to live there..As for me I am a recently retired school teacher..I too have a strong desire to visit Ghana and settle there..We are thinking of going there in December of 2018,so maybe you can keep in touch.

      Reply
  15. Zahabu King

    Informative and uplifting website. I am a single mom with a 10year old daughter and we are eager to become residents on the continent of Africa in particular the country of Ghana. I look forward to gaining more insight from researching your families experience, and learn how to make living in Ghana a reality!

    Reply
  16. Shani

    My husband who is Ghanaian is eager to take us all meaning our 5 children and I to live in homeland but I am a little scared of going I really want to go though because I know I’ll miss home so much any advice?

    Reply
  17. Akinyele

    I have recently made the decision to repatriate to Ghana, While I have been to Africa, I haven’t been to Ghana. I will visit in August and plan on joining the AAA. Approximately how much are the transitional apartments that you referenced in US currency?

    Reply
  18. Kadijah

    This is just confirmation that I need to go home! I love our story and I too am thinking of relocating after I finish my nursing degree next year! Please give me any tips that ou have to offer! I’ve been to Ethiopia (my father’s country) but never to Ghana. I need to plan a trip there soon.

    Reply
  19. Roberta h staggs

    Hi Myra,

    I am interested in visiting Ghana. Any tips that you would advise for a first time traveler to Ghana? I would like to connect with the people and the culture as I have found that my family has ancesteral ties to Ghana. Also I most likely will ve traveling alone. Are there other countries that you recommend for those who want repatriate?

    Thank you for your time.

    Reply
  20. Johnson Jr Marvin

    Hi,
    It’s awesome what you and your husband have done. Me my wife and 3 children are definitely moving there in a few weeks. I would love to know as much as possible about finances, visa info, and how ,what a who we should contact when we touch ground. I would greatly appreciate any help you can provide.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

About The Author