In honor of Ghana’s Independence day, I am sharing the experiences I had there in 2009. My life was forever changed by this country of hope, turmoil, and love
It seems like I have been here longer than I have. I am comfortable in this environment. I even loved the rural villages where there effects of poverty are evident. Many of these rural areas do not have access to advanced technology but the people are very creative.
The architecture of the buildings is beautiful. Palaces built in the 1800s and prior are still erect even though there has not been any renovations. Big trees and green hills decorate the beautiful horizon. This place is a sight to see. I am often lost in thought or smiling at strangers because I am happy here.
This weekend, I visited a beads village and was able to see how beads are made. The entire process is complex and I marveled at the ingenuity of the villagers who are able to come up with a such an effective process without modern technology.
I purchased some waist beads that have various meanings within African culture. I love them because they adorn my waist and in a feminine way. At the Kenti cloth village, I designed a colorful cloth using traditional adinkra symbols. The deep red ink used to create the symbols are made from tree bark. The process is done systematically by hand.
Ghanaians, even in the rural areas, tend to keep up with politics and prominent people in the US. They absolutely love Barack Obama and his face and name is being used on traditional attire. He is coming to Ghana on the 10th of July and I plan on attending his speech as a early birthday celebration.
My courses are going very well. My favorite part about the courses are the field trips. Our professors are more concerned with letting us experience Ghana rather than giving us a heavy work load. I know that many generalizations have been made about Africa. However, it is evident that while similarities exist between the countries of Africa, there are also dramatic differences. Even the various regions within Ghana have several differences and nuances. For example, the modern attire acceptable in Accra may not be acceptable in the North.
When our tour bus got caught in the middle of a funeral procession, I also had an opportunity to see how some Ghanaian people react to death. There is a time of mourning followed by jovial celebration. As I peered out from the window, it seemed as though hundreds of people lined the streets. The casket was being held by young men. They seemed excited and happy. They rocked the casket back and forth bouncing it up and down in the air. Nana, a local, explained that when a young person dies, their friends are allowed to carry the casket after the formal services. It is their last chance to have fun with their friend. They do not cry. Instead, they dance and celebrate their friend’s life.
Furthermore, when I was enjoying drinks and conversations with friends at a local bar and saw a news report flash across the screen announcing the death of Micheal Jackson, my Ghanaian friend uttered “such is life.”