Meet the Native Borne Family, high school sweethearts turned married couple with five children. They set out on an adventure to explore various destinations around the world and have now settled down in Ghana. Follow us below as we learn more about their life abroad and what pushes them to keep exploring as a family.
How old are you? How long have you lived in Ghana?
I am 37 years old, and my wife Safiyyah is 35 years old. We’ve been living in Ghana for about three years.
What inspired you to become an expat and why Ghana?
My wife and I love to travel and had dreams of being full-time entrepreneurs. We chose to visit Africa to connect with our roots, learn more about our lineage and gain first-hand experience on what it feels like to live on the continent.
We desperately needed time away from the rat-race and focus more on the things we love. We desired more time to nurture our relationship, bond with our children, reignite our passions, and explore this beautiful world. To accomplish our goals, it was best that we explore destinations outside the U.S. With the expensive cost of raising five kids, and because of the negative energy looming over America; we sought for a destination which would offer a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere. We chose Ghana because I have a close friend whose father is Ghanaian. I learned a lot about Ghana through him and later learned that a large African-American Expat community resides here. Because of this, we knew that our first stop in Africa had to be Ghana.
What are the benefits of being an expat and what are the issues?
Being an expat allowed us to discover a new culture, different languages, and a variety of amazing destinations. Traveling allowed our minds to recognize the complexity and authenticity of the world around us. Living abroad has been like tapping into a new aspect of ourselves that we didn’t know existed. Though residing in Ghana comes with its ups and downs, it is a priceless gift which offers us the chance to live a complete and adventurous life. The biggest con of being an expat is that the environment is vastly different from the culture and ease of our home country. Our patience has been tested, and at times we miss the conveniences and familiarity of home, but we have learned to adjust and appreciate those differences. Overall, the culture, freedom, and experience have been a worthwhile and unparalleled adventure, and we look forward to seeing as much of this beautiful world as possible.
How is living in Ghana different from living in the U.S.?
Overall, Ghana is more peaceful and laid back than the U.S, and very excepting of all nationalities. We don’t have to worry about racial tension or crimes against people of color. The conveniences in Ghana are not the best, but the cost of living is cheaper than the U.S. (although it’s starting to get more expensive). If you make a reasonable U.S. income, your money can go very far.
What are the pros and cons of becoming an expat with a family?
Lots of expat families come to Ghana because it is a relatively safe place to live. With low labor costs, we can afford services (like nannies) which we couldn’t dream of affording in the West. Also, Africa is a great place to raise children. The natural support system which exists here is far superior to anything we’ve experienced in our home country.
In America, the public school system is free, in Ghana, decent schools can get pretty expensive, and this can become a nuisance. We decided it would be best to homeschool our three oldest children and keep the two younger ones in school for now.
As a black family, it’s refreshing to be around people who look like us wherever we go. Images of black folks are everywhere; T.V., billboards, etc. Viewing positive black images on a daily basis does something empowering to their self-esteem.
What would you advise people interested in moving to Ghana?
I would advise people interested in moving to Ghana to come and visit. Experience the new environment for at least a month, more if possible. Take your time and get to know the culture. Network with people who share your same interests, experience the local lifestyle to get a feel for the country. Drive to different regions and learn as much as you can. Join online forums such as accraexpat.com before traveling to the country. Ask questions to the expat communities. The most critical step is to have a way to make a consistent income. Attempting to start a business, or get a job is not easy. You should have that set up before you move to Ghana. We experienced this first-hand. We came to Ghana with a limited amount of savings and a dream. That was a big mistake. Fortunately, after many trials and errors, we were able to create a sustainable income through our online platform www.nativeborne.com. Also, we produce a series of reality videos of our family of seven on YouTube (Native Borne Family) which documents our personal growth, life-experiences, and various travel destinations.