Image by Akintola Hanif

South Ward: James

I came to this country from Ghana in 1978 when I was 20.  I was a nuclear medicine technician but I always wanted to open up a business for my people.  This was a vacant building  when I found it in 2004.  I built everything here myself—the sheetrock, I fixed the roof, everything.

The big reason people come here is because our food is fresh. We are not canned or packaged. Everything is fresh-cooked and I smoke my own fish. It’s not just Ghanaians who like it here, also Nigerians and Togolese. They come here for the food but it allows them to socialize. They come to find jobs and help each other get their footing when they first come to this country. A lot of them are not well-educated. This empowers them.

The strengths of the Ghanaian community here are that everyone is your family and the commitment they have. When Ghanaians say they’re going to do something, they do it. We  dream big. In this country, there’s not much you can’t do if you work hard.  People say Americans are the devil, but they are the most caring people. This is a beautiful country, a great country.

But I’d like to do more to help the community back in Africa. I’d like to bring more African products here to help the economy there. People send money home but that way you can help create jobs and help laborers. So the Ghanaian Way is both, helping Africans here and helping them back in Africa.

James  Ken Kwofie, owner Ghanaian Way Restaurant and Grocery

as told to Carrie Stetler