A Black American Expat Living In Ghana Shares How Coronavirus Affects Life In West Africa
By Parker Diakite
Rashad McCrorey is the founder of Africa Cross Culture, a travel company that helps African Americans reconnect with their roots by visiting countries in Africa. He’s also a current expat living in Accra, Ghana.
As countries around the world deal with the novel coronavirus by closing down airports and shutting off borders from visitors, those in the tourism industry, like Rashad, are feeling the impact.
In an interview with Travel Noire, Rashad discussed how life has changed in Accra, Ghana due to the coronavirus.
Travel Noire: Tell our readers what has changed for you in Accra.
Rashad: I came out here to do Independence Day festivities and Accra Fashion Week because I was booked to host a few shows and they were canceled.
The Kwahu Festival, which is a huge festival in the Eastern region, has been officially canceled, and Kakum National Park has shutdown to all travelers.
One thing you’re also noticing is the hike in prices for hand sanitizer.
Travel Noire: The number of coronavirus cases in Ghana is significantly lower than in a lot of other countries. How are the government and citizens responding to these cases?
Rashad: There are a lot of measures being taken. You have to wash your hands before you go into many stores and before you go into the gas station and touch items. The store clerks are using gloves to protect themselves as well.
Travel Noire: Is your travel company feeling the impact in Ghana?
Rashad: One of the reasons that I think I may have to stay out here indefinitely is because I’m still able to create content without being locked down at home in New York like everybody else.
I’m still able to go Instagram Live, I’m still able to show stories and pictures and post them. I’m able to do live updates with people like you. I feel lucky right now to be on the ground in one of the countries that I do business.
So far, I have stopped promoting 2020 trips because, in my opinion, even when travel bans are lifted, it may still take time for people to get back into the festivities and we don’t know when these travel bans are going to be lifted.
Travel Noire: In terms of business, I know things have changed as you mentioned, but what about your social life?
Rashad: There’s definitely social isolation to an extent. All public gatherings are canceled, even on religious surfaces. Churches can’t gather anymore. I think the number is 25. You can’t have gatherings of over 25 people.
Labadi Beach is open and some restaurants are still open but kids are not in school.
Another thing that’s weird – traffic is different. It’s not as congested.
Travel Noire: How are you feeling being away from friends and family during this time?
Rashad: It’s concerning both ways. I’m concerned about my family. My mother is older and I miss my kids, you know. Right now, I feel like I’m in a better situation so, I tell them not to worry about me but the increasing numbers in America have me afraid for them […] I think I’m better off here.
I don’t think I want to come home at this moment. The social distancing is not as intense at the moment and there’s not any huge hysteria. And I want to emphasize the words “at the moment” because I know that things can get ugly.