Meet Christopher Amissah, Star of NYU Accra

ACCRA, GHANA — In a small but cozy room of this house on Church Crescent sits a casually dressed Ghanaian man in his thirties that could pass for most any other on the street. This man, however, is no average citizen of Ghana — he is one Christopher Amissah, who has worked at the Accra site of New York University for over a decade.

Although born here in Accra, Ghana’s capital and largest city, Christopher, or “Chris”, as he often prefers to be called, spent much of his early years in Achiase, a village located in the eastern part of Ghana, and where parts of his family to this day reside.

Chris has worked at NYU Accra since he was sent here by the Ghanaian government in January 2006 after completing a mandatory year of national service. He’d recently graduated from the University of Ghana, where he focused mostly on Information Studies. And as luck would have it, he happened to have been a near-perfect candidate for the position at the time, especially as NYU Accra, recently opened then in 2004, was in need of just such a person.

He has lived at the North Labone campus of NYU Accra since, becoming a Community Resource Assistant in August 2006 and rising to serve as both its Assistant Facility Manager and its Librarian since July 2009.

Chris normally works Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm, at No. 8 3rd Norla Street, a ten minute walk from the Church Crescent address where he has long resided throughout the entire year — receiving a real break only during certain holidays and when he gets a limited number of “days off”, totaling about a month annually. In his role, he helps manage the various facilities at NYU, especially the house at which he lives, coordinating the maintenance workers and cleaners, as well as ensuring that the dormitories are in their best state possible before the beginning of each semester. He can usually be found at the small library of NYU Accra on weekdays, where he regularly catalogs, arranges and checks out books and reading materials to students, and during the shorter but more intensive summer sessions, he accompanies the students he is assigned to on most of their assorted trips and meals.

But overall, is Chris truly satisfied with his long-time job, doing what he does?

“Satisfied, well — it’s a mixed feeling,” he says earnestly. “It’s kind of almost the same thing for all these years, so…”

And what are some of the greatest challenges he has faced in his position so far?

“It’s when, let’s say, [there are] maintenance issues and the maintenance people are not here to fix it,” says Chris.

“I get…a bit bored with news,” he confesses. “I really like playing with gadgets, [but] with soccer, I only follow the national team.”

Would Chris ever think of visiting the United States?

“To visit, yeah,” he replies readily, “but not to stay. I love being here, I really love Ghana.”