Dateline . . . Ghana, West Africa
I have been in Ghana for a little over a week now and things are going great. Ghana has welcomed (Akwaaba) me and our group of 23 students with open arms. We address our teachers as Auntie Rose, Auntie Sharon, Auntie Elsie, and Uncle Albie. They are very kind and care very much for our well-being. We also have 5 Ghanaian student aids who are also very kind. When they picked us up from the airport they taught us a Ghanaian song that took us a while to get but now it’s a favorite song of our always singing bus. Lastly, we have a good group of American students. Everyone has been getting along and although it is early in the year, there are deep friendships being forged.
Over this first week we have already done a lot. We have toured the University campus and throughout the capitol city of Accra. On the tour we got to see the memorial museum of Ghana’s first president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Flagstaff House (where the current President lives), the United States Embassy, and the Accra market. Then we traveled 5 hours north to Kumasi, on the crazy Ghanaian roads, to visit the former Palace of the Ashanti Chief. Before Ghana’s independence from Britain in 1957 there were many villages and many chiefs across the country who were in charge of the well-being of their communities. Today Ghana is a democracy, ruled by an elected President, but although there is a President, the traditions of Chieftaincy have not been abandoned. There are still many Chiefs throughout Ghana who are looking out for their individual communities.
Ghana is a young country, but has many traditions it still holds on too. There are ten regions, seventy-nine different indigenous languages, and hundreds of different villages. In Kumasi we had the opportunity to go to a village where they weave beautiful kente cloth. They walked us through the entire process and told us that men can begin working as young as ten years old. The men are the only ones who make kente to sell, while the women of the village are in charge of selling the finished kente. The same village also harvest coco, and we got to see the coco farm and buy some of the many products that come from the coco tree.
We also had the opportunity to go to Nima. In Nima we went to an elementary school that put on a dance performance for us. They did a phenomenal job and I enjoyed watching it. After the performance we gave the kids children’s books and played games with them. Thumb War was a big hit.
It is still crazy to me that I am on the other side of the world. In a country I have never been, with people I just met. Yet in the confusion and uncertainty there is a calmness. I am not fearful or worried. I continue to pray for strength and courage, and I know that good things will continue to happen. Thank you everyone for all the support. Continue to pray for me. And pray for Ghana.