Year of Return: The go-to guide for surviving the harsh Harmattan season in Ghana

December 16, 2019 at 08:30 am | Diaspora Connect, Opinions & Features

Ama Nunoo

Ama Nunoo | Staff Writer

December 16, 2019 at 08:30 am | Diaspora Connect, Opinions & Features

The Year of Return has seen a significant number of diasporans and other Africans thronging the West African nation to partake in the series of activities marking the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in America.

It has been at the forefront of many discussions in the past weeks, it’s marked in our history books, our children find ways to get us to talk about it so they can understand it better. We all as a people are still searching for an answer and find forgiveness along the way.

The coveted ‘Year of Return‘ began with a strong touch to the motherland by Hollywood stars; Rosario Dawson, Naomi Campbell, Idris Elba, Michael Jai White who were hosted by Boris Kodjoe and marketing maven Bozoma Saint John as part of their ‘Full Circle Festival’.

According to figures from the Year of Return Secretariat, the number of arrivals from the United States, Britain, as well as other key target nations increased by 80,862 for the first nine months as compared to the year before.

With this many people coming to Ghana, they are more likely than not to experience the harmattan. A North-East Sahara trade winds that hits Ghana from December through to February.

This weather can be harsh to the skin and making the skin extremely dry and chapped. The lips can get cracked and most places end up getting dusty. Some people have even referred to it as the ‘winter’ of Ghana.

It also gets very foggy at dawn and driving becomes a chore so drivers must take extra precautionary measures when commuting.

Image result for harmattan in ghana"
Photo: Graphic online

For our diaspora brothers coming, here are a few tips you need to survive harmattan during the ‘Year of Return’ festivities in Ghana.

Firstly, stay moisturised to the teeth because when the harmattan is at is peak, it takes a toll on your lips, hair and entire body.

It’s always good to have some shea butter, which is in abundance in the country and other vitamin-E based oils and creams within reach. They will save your skin and lips from painful spits that could get sore in extreme cases.

Stay hydrated and remember not to step out without a bottle of water in hand. Your throat can get very dry and itchy. Also drinking lots of water during the harmattan keeps your skin fresh. Most importantly, with a dose of effervescence vitamin C in your water, you can prevent nose bleeds and flu.

Image result for harmattan in ghana"
Photo: Ghana Business news

In addition, you need to get dress appropriately. It can get very chilly but it’s important to know that the weather can just as easily switch up. In the mornings it can get as low as 9°C (48°F) and the heat can immediately follow in the afternoon with about 30°C (86°F).

Also, you can have a scarf in hand to cover your face. The dust can be overwhelming at a point and it can easily blow dust into your nose. This then leaves you with heavily dried-out nasal passages. Nasal sprays or nasal drops come into handy during these moments.

Alternatively, air purifiers or inhalers can come to your rescue. Asthmatic patients must take extra precautionary measures since the dust can easily trigger an attack.  

Image result for harmattan in ghana"
Raw shea butter, Photo: pinterest

This point is a need to know, fires spread like wildfire during harmattan and it is not uncommon to hear of one or two burning forests when in the country. Bush fires usually occur in the savanna belt of the country which are in the Northern regions.

But do not be too alarmed, there are adequate measures in place to keep the people safe but with fires you cannot over prepare for its effects.

Make a conscious effort to put out the fire from cigarettes well so as not to start a bush fire.

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