IJGB – I Just Got Back

AccraWelcome-copy1

IJGB – I just got back.

 

The inspiration for this post can be found here: http://www.bellanaija.com/2013/12/10/are-you-an-i-just-got-back-ijgb-signs-symptoms-cures-of-the-new-jjc/

 

(Please read the comments section. The lolz. Some comments were shady though. Real shady.)

 

What is it? Does it exist? Who cares?

 

I’ll answer the second question first. It does exist. It’s very real. Now I’ll answer the third question. Who cares? People like me dammit. People who just got back! *clears throat* This also applies to those who wish to expatriate and have had that thought lingering in their brains for a while. Now I don’t think I fully fit this category anymore as I’ve been here for 6 months (now 16 months. Boom.) I feel like one of those parents who say their child’s age in months. Le sigh.

 

I’m more aware of my surroundings, how the everyday Ghanaian in Ghana behaves and I know when someone is trying to cheat me (my London Twi always comes to my rescue *hi 5s self*).

 

So what is it? The IJGB first of all means ‘I just got back’ a.k.a JJC or warrever. It’s normally used for people who have returned to the continent after some time away; studying, working etc. Or members of the Diaspora who have moved back for the first time like me. It’s the simmering resentment towards those who have just got back, some reasons which are plausible and others which are just not. Bear with me, I’ll explain.

 

My experience with IJGB syndrome

It’s the lingering stares examining you from head to toe. It’s the shock then almost sudden disdain when you don’t speak with an accent like theirs (I’ve literally had experiences of doing presentations and the participants say ‘Eii’ as soon as I speak. Yeah. That has happened MULTIPLE times -_-). It’s the assumed superiority that they believe you have (My handbag is from H&M not Louis V, chill). It’s people blanking you or mumbling half sentences when you say good morning for no reason whatsoever. It’s the uber defensiveness when you try to teach them something different to what they know. (Side note – I work in an office of women. Just FYI. Yah.)

 

Now don’t get me wrong, when you start any new place of employment you have to prove yourself. That is a given. But this was more than just ‘proving myself’, I’ve had to do that before. It was more of a ‘Who do you think you are?’ kind of attitude.

 

Some IJGBs do have a stink attitude. An inflated sense of self even. I’ve seen some. They annoy me too. They may make reference to their schooling (even though you didn’t ask), or they may complain incessantly about the heat (It’s Africa boo) or just generally be whiny (go and sit in a corner somewhere). But I was careful (even too careful) about making how I comported myself around Ghanaians. I would complain to my peoples back home in London lol.  So why me? *cue violins*

Is it insecurity? Is it the presupposition that I think I’m better? Nah. I came back to help my people. Yes I’m a proud Brit but I’m also a Ghanaian (though being in Ghana has made me realise how British I am. Another post. Te lo prometo). I want to use my skills to help advance education in the land of my parents. *cue Michael Jackson – Heal The World* No but seriously though, I am here with genuine intentions. The curriculum, teaching practices and methodologies in GH are outdated. It’s shocking and we’re ridiculously behind. The UK system has serious gaps but, it doesn’t compare to what’s happening back home. Just. Doesn’t. Compare.

 

I’ve pondered over this for a while. I think it’s complicated and everyone will have their own individual reason or nuance.

 

It seems as though some just can’t reconcile that you share the same surname as them, you can make abenkwan,  you have a foreign accent AND you can communicate in your local language. Almost as if we’re aliens 😦 Now this is not ALL Ghanaians. Some are suitably impressed that you’re flying the black star flag wherever you were born/have lived and are back to lend your knowledge. I’m detailing my own experience and the experience of some ‘returnees’ I’ve come across.

 

FYI, this doesn’t apply to my obroni friends by the way. The “White Saviour” mentality is still  prevalent in Africa so they expect our Caucasian friends to have nicer clothes, to have foreign accents, to have money trees growing in their gardens and so on. It doesn’t offend them. It’s the expectation.

 

So what do you think? Have you experienced this? Am I making it up? (Of course I’m not. Don’t be silly ;-))

 

Until next time…

*I initially drafted this when I reached the 6 month mark so March 2014. Sigh.

As 2014 draws to a close…

To those who habitually blog and post, I salute. I need that discipline for blogging in 2015. Yes. I haven’t blogged since my one year anniversary in September and a lot has happened since then. Mostly personal stuff but a lovely round up to the year.

1. I was on CNN, y’all. (Not an American but felt y’all was appropriate here 😀 ). I featured on Inside Africa talking about my lovely project: MGCubed or Making Ghanaian Girls Great! Check us out! (We’re within the last 5 minutes or so) —->

CNNhttp://edition.cnn.com/video/?/video/international/2014/10/06/spc-inside-africa-ghana-girl-power-c.cnn&video_referrer=

MGCubed on Twitter – https://twitter.com/mgcubedgh

MGCubed on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mgcubedhome

MGCubed video – http://vimeo.com/90391911

Still don’t actually remember what I said because I still cringe when I see it. I’ll watch it properly one day guys. I promise.

2. Moved house! I moved out from the East Legon side ❤ to around the Osu side of town. Currently loving the new neighbourhood and the new appartement *French accent* and a new roommate *swirls*

3. Went to Lagos, Nigeria to witness my beautiful sister-friend get married to her beau. Being a maid of honour isn’t easy but so so worth it. A pleasure to serve ❤ Lagos is an interesting place too. Would defo recommend.

4. Came back to London to wind up the year for Christmas and new year. Christmas was lovely. African girls know what Christmas day means: cooking the WHOLE DAY then not really having an appetite afterwards 😦 #HouseGirlsUnite! Spending NYE in church with Pastor O and some of the people I love most exciting me is an UNDERSTATEMENT. Whoooo! And the sales of course. We can’t forget the sales.

Also…I’ve been discovering some MORE lovely places in Accra!

Nails – Marie Noelle’s Spa (located in Osu near Noble House/Heritage Restaurant)

Website – http://www.marienoellespa.com/

Food/Drinks (cough) – Burger and Relish (Osu. Take Koala Down and follow to the end, it’s on your left). Lovely ambience and the drinks are lovely.

Website – http://burgerandrelish.com/site/

Coco Lounge (Airport City) – Currently in love with this place! Such a cool laid back vibe but swanky with great drinks and a simple food menu. It works! Plus they sing and dance when you order tequila on Tequila Thursdays. An experience.

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/iconhouseghana

Mukase Chic Eatery (Osu) – Mayneee. I don’t know who this lady is but I must meet HER! This lovely lady (who is my friend in my mind lol) has opened a place (currently a pickup/delivery place but soon to be a restaurant I here) and sells some of THE nicest local food I’ve had in GH. And I mean proper local food like garden egg stew, abom….*salivates*. She also has healthy versions (i.e. very little oil and so on) I HIGHLY recommend.

Blog – http://mukasechic.wordpress.com/

Instagram – http://instagram.com/mukasechic_eatery

Out of Town Excursions – Aqua Safari Resort – A super lovely resort in Ada, about 2 or so hours away from the city (depending on traffic of course). Very scenic with beach sports, water sports (jet skiings, paddle boats, a boat cruise to the estuary etc), a grill, minerals (soft drinks) and a lovely beach. Not like Labadi. Labadi doesn’t even count as a beach tbh.

I have vowed to explore more African locations whilst I’m in GH. It just makes sense. Now I have a default travel partner too it makes it all the better. Yay!

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IMG_1715Aqua Safari – Ada…(Top pic – some of my teaching team and I).

You can help too!!!

Hi all, please read below and help support the amazing dreams of a very dear friend of mine. Voting won’t take you more than a couple of minutes, please just follow the link!

My Neighbour's Keeper

My Neighbour’s Keeper is a project that seeks to eradicate stigma concerning HIV/AIDS by joining HIV/AIDS awareness and reproductive health training to CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and First Aid training and administering it to secondary school students in villages and cities in Nigeria. We have entered the “Good Pioneers of Health” competition to execute the project and would like your help! How can you help? Please visit the link below, vote and comment!!!!
 
CHANGE BEGINS NOW, IT BEGINS WITH YOU…….
Project page:  http://pioneersofhealth.maker.good.is/projects/myneighbourskeeper and click “Vote for this Idea” .
If you need to register, please remember to validate your email address (you’ll receive instructions after you vote) so your vote gets counted. You’ll see a notification at the top of the screen once your vote has been successfully counted.
 
Remember, everyone can only vote once, so be sure to also let your friends know and spread the word! For more information please contact the project leader Ms Alice Adebiyi: missalicebiyi@gmail.com
Thank you and God Bless! 
From ‘My Neighbours keeper’ project

And also have a gander at her wonderful blog too: http://lavieofalice.wordpress.com/

xxxx