A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Guest Blogger: Eline Sleurink, MA in African Studies
What am I doing in Accra?
For the past 2.5 months I have been based at Impact Hub Accra, Ghana, as part of my combined internship and research requirement for the 1 year African Studies master. While based at Impact Hub Accra I have been assisting the team with business development as part of my internship responsibilities. My research, meanwhile, focuses on the role that the hub plays in facilitating the pathway of local entrepreneurs.
In this series of blog posts I will be sharing some experiences of my time here. What does a day in my life look like, who do I hang out with and what kind of work am I doing? These are just some of the questions I will be answering in order to give you a glimpse into my time here.
In this post, I provide a glimpse into what my daily life looks like!
07.00 AM Daily life starts early here! I am usually woken up by the sound of people sweeping on the street and door entrances outside my window. After getting ready I walk 5 minutes to Impact Hub Accra, passing scenes of school runs, shops opening and the city coming to life on the way.
08.00 AM I buy breakfast from the stall outside the hub, a delicious vegetable omelette sandwich for just 60 Euro cents! I go into the hub and power up my laptop and start making a ‘to do’ list for the day. Whether it be meetings, conducting research, writing grant proposals or helping to organise hub events, each day is different and filled with learning opportunities. I normally sit with the management team in a separate office within the hub, although occasionally I sit with entrepreneurs and founders in the coworking space.
12.30 PM Lunch is served. We are lucky to have catered lunch at the hub, for a price of around 2 euros a day. The dishes are normally Ghanaian, including such staples as Banku, Fufu and Waakye. They are delicious although take some getting used to! Luckily they normally also offer some lighter fare such as rice with fish or salads.
18.00 PM After an afternoon of more external meetings or work at the hub, it’s time to finish (or “close”) for the day. Most evenings I meet with friends or colleagues for dinner, either from street vendors (“chop bars”) or at neighbouring restaurants. Accra is lucky to have a wide range of restaurants, offering everything from West African cuisine to Japanese options. On nights that I stay in, I cook something simple using produce from stalls outside my accommodation. I live in a guesthouse, paying 150 Euros a month for a simple but clean bedroom with bathroom. Luckily, I have both a fan and air conditioning, as the temperature rarely dips below 33 degrees and includes searing humidity.
At the weekends, my activities range between spending time with the friends I have made, exploring the city, browsing markets or trips outside of Accra. To date, I have visited several of Ghana’s beautiful -if rustic- beaches, including Ada Foah and Kokrobite. I have also made several trips inland.
The people I have met here have been incredibly welcoming and friendly, I have made friends with my colleagues and through them been introduced to many other locals as well as expats. The community is very open and I am sure we will stay in contact even when I return!