Monday, June 16, 2014

What do you call Ghana-Must-Go Bags... in Eastearn Europe?

This question is provoked by the fact that I am currently reading Taiye Selasi's beautiful debut novel, Ghana Must Go . The book takes its title from the "Ghana-Must-Go" bags that, according to Selasi, were first used by Ghanaian immigrants forced to leave Nigeria in 1983. People had to pack all their belongings in a hurry and they used these cheap, sturdy bags that became known as "Ghana-Must-Go" bags. (According to Selasi, the term is embraced by Ghanaians.) So... my question for you is... what are these bags called in Eastern Europe? I have a vague memory that I read about them either in a Josip Novakovich or an Aleksandar Hemon book... and now I'm having trouble locating the reference! HELP!!!

Discovered the (East) European equivalent of the "Ghana Must Go" bag: "Tuekenkoffer", i.e. Turkish suitcase. I also found out that in Hong Kong, people call these bags 'amah bags' because Filipina domestic helpers use them (especially when sending stuff back to the Philippines) - 'amah' being a Chinese word for maid/nanny. Now you know.

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