Kumasi: the city that became our home

Jul 1, 2024

After we established our partnership with The Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture (KITA), Kumasi became Chalé Spirulina’s base and our new home. Coming from Rotterdam, it is least to say that it is quite a different environment to live in. Our lifestyles have changed drastically. That does not mean that it is unpleasant to live here. Quite the contrary; we are loving Kumasi, its culture and people. In this blogpost we will give a small insight into our lives in Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti Region in Ghana.

With its 3 million inhabitants, Kumasi is the second biggest city in Ghana. Moreover, it is seen as the cultural heart of the country, located in the middle of the Ashanti Region. Because of this, Kumasi has a strong association with the Ashanti people, who played a major role in the history of Ghana. The Ashanti empire was a state that lasted from 1701 to 1901 and included most of Ghana and some parts of Ivory Coast and Togo. It is seen as one of the most powerful kingdoms in West-Africa, due to its military power, wealth, architecture and culture. Kumasi itself is a vibrant city known for its culture and traditions. The name Kumasi means “Under the Kum tree”. The story goes that Kumasi was founded under a large Kum tree, which is still standing in the city centre of Kumasi. Another alias for Kumasi is the “Garden City”, this is due to the city’s green spaces and botanical gardens. You can find colorful markets and the Ashanti people are considered the friendliest and most welcoming of all Ghana. Moreover, the city has a thriving commercial economy, which is mainly driven by its vibrant markets and some industry. Furthermore, due to the fertile soil agriculture is one of the main income sources in the region.

We are living a bit outside of the hectic city centre in a village named Domeabra. This is also where KITA is located. It is a quiet and peaceful place with a lot of greenery around and the people are really friendly. We get greeted in the street a lot, very often we hear “oburoni”, which is a term used to describe a foreigner. In general, people here get up when the sun rises, which is around 6:00 AM. We got used to this rhythm and do the same. During the day, we spent a lot of time at KITA and on our site which is currently under construction. Now that we are in the startup phase of the company, no day is the same. Every day is an adventure where we experience new things. Overall, living in Domeabra is pretty amazing. We enjoy the nature and animals around us and we enjoy the simplicity of life here.

Whenever we want to escape the village life, we go to Kumasi’s vibrant city centre, which is a 30-minute car ride away. We used to take trotro’s (local minibuses) and taxis to move around, but recently we bought our own car. We made this choice as the distances are quite far, moving around by public transport takes a lot of time and we often need to purchase and move items for our operation. The amount of miles our Pontiac has driven is uncertain and most things in the dashboard are not working, but it runs like a dream and brings us wherever we want to go. In the centre of Kumasi there are multiple fun bars and restaurants. Our favourite spot is Tumi, a hostel which is owned by a Dutch lady and dedicates itself to women empowerment projects. On Fridays they host an international dinner where students, expats and travellers meet to enjoy a nice dinner together. The food is always great and the people are very interesting. We really like Kumasi and are excited to explore more of this dynamic city.