Ghana Trip Essay
The difference in the level of industrial development, technological advancement and economy development are factors used to differentiate a development country from a developing or underdeveloped country.
The poor nature of the people in developing countries, this has been a yardstick of stereotyping them as people who are suffering poorly nourished, uncivilized and barbaric in culture and hostile to visitors. This bases of stereotyping has made many people, especially in the developed world to form a perception that in most cases are erroneously conceived in respect to the true nature of people living in Africa; and other third world countries.
Africa, a continent of the black race, is a continent that over decades of years have lavished and be-fortuned by poverty, famine, starvation and hunger.
The above preamble lead us to the focal point of which this write up is made. The discuss for this write up will be on my experienced I got from my trip to Ghana, as part of my course for Foreign Studies 491. The paper will show how this trip had affected me, and my perception to Africa before and after the trip.
GHANA AS A COUNTRY
Ghana is an Africa country that is located in western Africa. The country is a black nation with diverse cultural heritage. The country has a landmass of about 238,537sq km. And a population of about 17,748,400 people (1996 census). The capital of Ghana is Accra. Other region include Kumasi, Volta region upper west region upper East region, Northern Region, Bong Ahafo Region, Eastern Region, Central Region, Western Region and Greater Accra region. Ghana has a larger proportion of rural areas to urban centers. The official language of the country is English. Other native dialects spoken include: Akan, Mole-Daghani, Ewe, Ga-Adangme, Fante, Nzima Brong, Asante, Twi, Gurupe Dagbane.
The official currency of Ghana is Cedi. i.e. 100 Presewas equals to a Cedi. The country is not too advanced in industrial development like western countries like the United State of America, Britain, France, German, Japan etc. The economy of the country is mainly tied to the export of primary produce; such as cocoa and other agricultural produce. The mining of gold diamonds, manganese, bauxite, aluminum is being carried out in the country. There are also some manufacturing industries and local craft cottage industries.
MY PERCEPTION ABOUT AFRICA BEFORE MY TRIP
I had always nursed this dream of visiting Africa and seeing for myself what the black continent looks like. My trip to Ghana provided me this long nursed desire.
My perception about Africa is mainly formed from documentaries films I watched, stories from magazines and newspapers, and stories form friends and lectures.
The above mentioned sources of my perception, have made me perceive Africa as a continent that is wild in nature, barbaric, hostile, war redeem, hungry and uncivilized. I thought the people are all poor, sometimes I assume they live their life in big tropical forest, jungle and top of trees.
I also thought the people are still in the Dark Age; uneducated. I assumed they walk nude in the street.
Another factor that has assisted in diverting my perception from the negative side, is the character existed by Africans is my school and around where I reside: I found out that these African students and people around me, are friendly, intelligent and civilized in character and attitude. This scenario has made me wonder if maybe this is the way of life of those African in their hometown I had also heard people saying that most of the stories we hear of Africa are not all the truth. That Africa is not a hostile people and backward as it is painted in Western countries. Though, the continent suffers from poor economy situations, hardship and starvation.
All the aforementioned factors have beclouded my perception of what really the people of Africa area, and their culture and way of living. My trip to Ghana has helped in clarifying this beclouded perception of mine. And it affected my perception about Africa in no small measure.
MY EXPERIENCE IN GHANA
All my stay in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, the people exhibited a warm and friendly gestures towards me, every one is ready to assist with the slighted requests I made. The Ghanaians are hospitality is nature. They embraces foreigners and are ready to teach them their way of life and culture.
I found the people easy going, not criminal included. The people have the culture of building around its extended family. They have the inclination to live their life together as a family
Ghana is blessed with diverse cultural heritage. The people celebrated different festivals, dance, music and visual arts.
I had the opportunity of watching a cultural troupe perform a cultural dance. The ladies and male dance dressed in their dancing regalia danced in a skillful way to the rhythm of the sound emanating from the local musical instruments.
The dances are very entertaining, and makes you want to take part in it. Some cultural festival celebrated by the Ghanaians include the Odwira, celebrated by the Akan people of Akuapim, Akwamu, Denkywa and the Akyems, and the Yam Festival celebrated by the Akan people of Aburi in Akupim. Also other traditional religions ceremonies goes hand in hand with the Christian and Muslim celebrations.
There is widespread of the Christian religion in Ghana, also some percentage of Ghanaians are Muslims, while others still practice their traditional beliefs. Ghanaians have a variety of local delicacies. Some of these food are prepared with local spices and other agricultural produce such as Maize, Cassava, Millet, guinea corn. Kenke, a maize food wrapped in a dry maize leaf, taste really good. It is eaten with a stew, sliced onions and fired fish. This food is the delight of most Ghanaians. I like the taste of the peppery and onion, combined with the fired fish. It tastes really nice. Other local delicacy include, Akara (Bean ball), Moi-moi (made from bean) Tapioca (made from cassava) pounded yam, eating with local soup, garri (made from cassava), among others.
The cities of Ghana are planned places in a stage of urbanization. Though, not as modernized as cities in Western countries, these places are a delight to behold. The cities are densely populated, unlike the rural areas that have sparsely populated population.
There are several sites of attractions in Ghana. Some of these sites are the ancestral homelands of the Ashanti at Kumasi, which is a distance away from the main capital Accra. But this place is easily assessable by road and airplane and the slave castles in cape coast also easily accessible by road there is the W.E.B Dubois cultural center and the George Padmore Library. Both institutions are Ghanaian institutions which honor African Americans and African American heroes as well as African and Diaspora figures are pictured prominently at the Almina slave castles welcoming lobbies (lansingsc.org)
The road and transport networks in Ghana’s main cities connect the cities with the rural and hinder land of transportation in the cities, like in Accra, you can board either a taxi-cab or business, painted in a mixture of yellow, green and white colors to any part of the country. The roads are quite accessible especially from Accra where the International Airport is located.
The Weather climate of Ghana is the tropical. Ghana and other West African countries have two basic seasons, i.e. the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season is cold and the soil is moisture for the local farmers to cultivate their crops. During the dry season period the level of rainfall is low, and there is high temperature level.
“The average low temperature in Ghana is 69 (F), 20 (C) degrees and the average high temperature is 86 degrees (F), 30 degrees (C). Variation in temperature in the southeast ranges annually and daily are quite small. The coolest time of the year is between. June and September when the main rainfall occurs” (Ibid.). The weather is sunny here in Ghana unlike the cold weather we have in Europe, America and Asia. The early morning cold breeze and sunny weather of afternoon is good to the skin.
The administrative political system of Ghana is structured after a democratic setting. There exist both a central government and local government. The constitution of the country is unitary in nature, like that of Britain. Also, there exist traditional cultural governing systems lead by the chief and queen mothers who are revered, and the play prominent role in governing at the local level. Their inputs in the national level are also utilized and the traditional system is well entrenched.
The educational structure in Ghana is divided into primary education, secondary and tertiary. The Ghanaian government is now concentrating more on primary education. Before this time (precisely 1987 when the Ghana’s educational system was revised), the focus was mostly on secondary and university-level studies. Ghana has three universities; the university of Ghana at Legon near Accra, Achimota college and the University of science and Technology Mfantsipim school. There are foreign students, particularly students from the United States in Ghana University.
The standard of education is high, with profound professors and good facilities for learning. This situation ahs attracted students from other neighboring African countries to come studying in the universities in Ghana.
I met some brilliant students who shared their school life experience and also the stress involved in schooling in Ghana. One obvious thing that is experienced is that the competition to secure admission to these universities in Ghana is very high, due to the dearth of universities to rightly accommodate the timing population of candidates that seek their admission to the available universities
HOW MY TRIP TO GHANA HAS AFFECTED MY PERCEPTION OF AFRICAN
My trip to Ghana has greatly enlighten me and also giving me a first hand view of what African countries look like. I have been able to see and experience it that African people are friendly, hospitality and accommodative to foreigners. This trip has made me to change my perception that Africans are barbaric, uncivilized and hostile. I now know that many Africans are highly intelligent, civilized and friendly.
Also, in the area of modernization, I can say, though the African continent is not as developed as the European countries and North American countries; but the urban centers in main cities have attained some level of development.
It is also observed that the majority of African people are poor and they lived a low impoverished life unlike those people in Western countries.
This trip has also made me see that Africa as a continent is truly endowed with diverse cultural practices. Some of these cultural practices are still carried out even in this computer age. their music and cultural dances is a delight to behold. And have good delicacies. The Africans are proud of their culture and they are zealous to keep these heritages for a long time to come.
“Akuapim, Ghana: general Information”
http://www.lansingsc.org/pages/akuapim.cfm (8th July, 2005)