Recently I traveled to Accra, Ghana to join the Nudge Digital Ghana office while their lead developer Elvis joined the UK office. It was a great experience working in a different country as well as exploring some of the city. I learned a lot during my time over there, and the many highlights made this trip great in every way.
Clueless Taxi Drivers And Crazy Roads
After a long flight, Ghana greeted me with arid heat and taxi drivers that don’t have a clue where they’re going. Using landmarks I’ve never seen before and my impeccable Google Maps navigation skills, the clueless taxi driver eventually managed to drop me off at my new home for the next two weeks. Walking into the wonderfully cold apartment I quickly realised that one of the biggest luxuries in Ghana is aircon.
Heading to the office the next morning I finally got to meet the team I had so far only spoken to online. The day started interestingly with more taxi drivers, no traffic rules or right of way, oncoming cars and potholes the size of elephants. ‘Good luck and onwards’ is the rule Ghanaians seem to live by.
The Ghana Team
After making it safely to the office I was greeted by our team out there, a super very friendly bunch of guys, who were very interesting to talk to and told me loads more about Ghana.
Just like the UK office, the Ghana office has a very nice relaxed atmosphere. The team are a helpful bunch, supporting each other and working together; I really enjoyed working with them. A nice touch to the office (which we have been petitioning for in the UK office too) is the ping pong table. Playing a few rounds with the team was a great way to get to know them better. Elvis, our lead developer in Ghana, is a master at ping pong and I came very close to beating him. It was a great time in the office, I even got to do a couple of talks on some of my favourite topics such as Git, Android and XDebug.
One challenge working and living in Ghana is the power. Suppliers can’t cope with the increasing demand which means that on average they will have 24 hours with power and then 24 hours without. Most businesses have generators for when the power is out, but it still causes a lot of problems. The worst thing about it for me was that our office generator was not powerful enough for aircon.
A Different Side Of Ghana
After a couple of days in the office I experienced first hand how much easier communicating with team members is when you’re only two desks behind them. It’s easy to directly talk to the account managers and the rest of the team about my plan for a project and issues as they arise. When your colleagues are over 4,000 miles away it’s more difficult.
I also had the chance to venture out and find some places to eat and grab a drink in the evenings. Unfortunately it gets dark around 6pm due to Ghana’s proximity to the equator, and with no street lights exploring is difficult. Even in the evenings it was still too hot to walk very far, but I found a couple of nice places nearby. The variety of food and bars is great!
While I was there we had a public holiday called Republic Day. Patrick, one of the guys from the office, and I decided to head into the center of Accra and later to the beach. I got a real experience of what it’s like to be a tourist in Ghana. We explored a big crafts market, headed to Osu, and finally to a beach party at Labadi beach. It was a great day, and the beach party was good fun, though very different to what I had expected. It was massive with a great atmosphere, great music and great drinks.
I want to say a big thank you to the Ghana team for being so welcoming and to Ben and Nudge Digital for arranging this trip for me. It was a truly amazing experience.