When restaurant owner Telie Woods moved to Ghana in 2022, he had no idea what was in store for him. He’d been having major success at Jerk Soul, a Caribbean infusion restaurant he’d opened in St. Louis, Missouri. However, he’d clearly heard the voice of his creator telling him to relocate to Ghana.

“I saw so many Black expats on Youtube sharing their stories and that gave me a lot of hope,” Woods said.

Six-months later, Woods took the leap of faith and headed to Africa. He moved both his personal and business life all in an instant. It didn’t take him long to find housing in the Ghanaian capital of Accra. He reopened his restaurant on the rooftop of the Oyarifa Mall and the blessings have been nonstop since his arrival. 

Now, Woods’ life has forever been changed. Locals in the city have accepted and welcomed him. His business has continued to blossom. Woods has found an everlasting peace in Ghana that he couldn’t seem to locate while living in America.

A Simple, Peaceful Life

Photo credit: @jerk_soul/Instagram

Upon first thought, Woods believes one of the biggest difficulties about living in Ghana is his lack of access to Chicago-style pizza. Afterall, he is a Chicago native and after years of living in St. Louis, then Ghana, Woods doesn’t always get back to the Chi for a slice.

While he could always go for a piece of classic, deep dish, Woods believes his move to Ghana has transformed him in unimaginable ways. Although he does miss some of the standard normalities associated with American living, the peacefulness he’s found in Africa is unlike anything he’s ever experienced. 

“A lot of the things I thought were important living in the states I’ve come to realize are minuscule when you live amongst the people here in West Africa,” he said. 

Woods has learned peacefulness and patience through his time spent with locals. In exchange, he taught them about finances and entrepreneurship in Western culture. 

“I’m becoming more of a patient person, and they are learning how to get some money,” he said.

Overcoming Trauma Through Travel

The perfect peace he has in Ghana is a catalyst for his healing journey. He’s realized that although his healing journey will be long, it is worth the work and the wait. Unfortunately, Woods said many Black men are unable to heal from past trauma while still residing in the United States. 

“True healing begins, for a black man, when you leave the land of your captivity,” he said.

As time passes, Woods said he oftentimes finds himself missing his family and friends back in the states. However, he believes his relocation to Ghana was an intricate part of his divine destiny. Whether other Black Americans intend to simply visit Africa or relocate permanently, Woods encourages all people of color to visit the continent, especially if they are on a personal healing journey. 

“There’s 400 years of untreated trauma floating around in our DNA and my people need a break and they need to heal,” he said.