In Ghana, daylight is from 6.00 am in the morning and darkness descends in the evening around six o’clock. The days repeat like this, one after another and this regular and clear rhythm gives me a deep sleep. Ghana doesn’t have as much artificial lighting as we do in Finland. They can’t afford it. Sometimes, I wonder how much illumination is needed and whether it would be reasonable for us in Finland to save on it as well.

When evening falls in Ghana and it becomes dark, the electricity cuts off due to faults, sometimes quite unexpectedly if I forget to monitor my power consumption. Electricity I have is prepaid. If I buy electricity worth 500 Cedis, it simply means I have 500 Cedis worth of electricity to use.

One day, the power went out almost immediately after sunset. What do we do then? We check if it’s a general power outage (they happen at least weekly) or if the red light on the meter is indicating that I’ve used up all the electricity I purchased. I quickly noticed the red light. Complete darkness ensued, the fans stopped working and the hum of the refrigerator ceased.

The water pump also runs on electricity, so there was no water either. If there’s no water, you can’t flush the toilet. If I haven’t remembered to charge my phone, then it stops working too. I vaguely remembered leaving a battery-powered flashlight in the back of the closet. However, I didn’t go searching for it blindly in the dark because there might be some tropical insect or other bothersome creature ready to bite or sting.

Rajallinen sähkömittari

Tropical insects like the dark and are highly active at night. I must carefully consider how much I could use the flashlight on my phone, how much I might need to make calls or send messages. All the things in the refrigerator will go bad. The heat in the tropics is incredible. It’s hot even at night unless you have fans running. I usually don’t use air conditioning because it consumes a lot of electricity. Indeed, I think it’s better for people visiting the tropics to try to adapt to the local conditions.

If you engage in a game, you must endure the game. Ceiling fans are enough for me to keep the heat at bay. Well, there I sat and sweat began to trickle down my back. Luckily, there was no thunderstorm or rain, maybe I could somehow find my way somewhere to buy a new bundle of electricity. If it rains, some roads will turn into a muddy mess, making it almost impossible to move, whether on foot or by car.

When I’m in Finland, it often feels like everything here is boundless – undeniably, there are options. The row of yogurt jars in the supermarket is several meters long. Perhaps recently our Finnish world of boundlessness has developed a crack – the price of electricity surprised the Finns, inflation and the war in Ukraine brought uncertainty and posed a new challenge for us. Is this new? I guess our grandparents accepted that very little is truly boundless.

This boundlessness and limitations make me wonder. How is it that human nature adapts so quickly to better conditions that we don’t remember or can’t imagine what it’s like to have a more limited life? If we were aware of it, we could be grateful and happy for everything we have.

Perhaps, it is okay to have both boundlessness and limitations – indeed, contemplating these concepts reveal the complexity of human experience. The boundlessness of life refers to the fact that possibilities and potential are theoretically endless. It means that we can dream, set goals and strive to achieve them. People have creativity and the ability to develop, learn new things and constantly discover new opportunities in life.

So positively thinking, we have limitless possibilities. Nevertheless, there are limitations in life as well. We have a limited amount of time, energy and resources available to us. People experience physical, emotional and mental limitations. Uncertainty and setbacks are also part of life, which we cannot control or predict. This limitation creates restrictions and challenges in achieving our goals.


The awareness of both life’s limitlessness and limitations can be contradictory and challenging. On one hand, it inspires us to dream big and strive for more, but on the other hand, it imposes restrictions and forces us to make choices. Nonetheless, we can strive to balance our expectations and goals and accept limitations and uncertainties as part of life’s journey.

In the darkness of the tropics, alone and sweating, it’s a good moment to contemplate the feelings of limitation. I turned on the flashlight on my phone, went outside to hail a taxi, and drove to the nearest stall where I could buy a package of electricity. As the taxi reversed out of the stall, it drove into an open concrete drain and got stuck. Passersby came to assist and I tried to get out of the car to support, but I was ordered to relax and wait for men to do the job because as an older woman, it is inappropriate and risky for me to lift cars from open drains.

Sateella tämä tie on mutavelliä

The limitation in Ghana is not only limited to electricity but also to internet connections, water distribution, food, washing machines, irons and almost all goods and services. However, there are also limitless things in Ghana. Ghana is limitless in terms of people’s kindness, their desire to study and develop themselves, music, dance and close knit community. These are significant things.

(Edited by John Owoo https://artsghana.net)

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Aino Roivainen

Aino Roivainen

Aino Roivainen is the founder and chairman of Finnish Education Outreach ry
Tel: +358 50 548 2465