Letters From Ghana (#4)
August 2, 2013
Greetings from Cape Coast, Ghana!
SOLES alum Raketa Ouedraogo-Thomas, doc student Corinne Brion, masters student Melodie Miranda and I flew on Starbow (a Ghanaian airline) to Accra from Kumasi where we conducted the proprietor training. We arrived at the airport less than a half hour before our flight. We then walked in, got our boarding passes and entered the boarding area without any ID check, and no removing of shoes or jackets. How refreshing!
Once we landed in Accra we met the Tema Team: Desiree Wooden, Dr. Joi Spencer, and Maria Kelly. I've included a photo of them wearing their Global Center polo shirts! We then visited an after school program called Kip-McGrath that tutors children in math and English using a leveled, computerized learning management system. They are a for profit company operating in 20 countries around the world. (BTW--The proprietor’s wife knows a dear friend of mine in South Africa; it is indeed a small world.) Next we drove to Cape Coast (the Western region of the country) and to lovely Elmina Bay with beautiful coconut palms swaying in the warm breeze. It's time for a bit of rest and relaxation before we begin our debriefing tomorrow.
I thought you might find some of the names of the many small shops along the coastal road from Accra to Cape Coast interesting: Glorify Refrigeration, God of Israel Welding Shop, Amazing Grace Enterprises, Peace and Love Jewelry, Wisdom Laundry Service, Great Hope Ventures Cold Storage, Savior Chemicals, Love is Patience Fashion, Human Needs Fashion, God is Our Provider (phone booth), Seek Solace (bedding store), and Heavenly Home Block Factory to name but a few! As you can tell by the names, Christianity is the main religion (about 70% of the population), while about 17% of the people are Muslim (it’s Ramadan right now so you can see many people praying in public) and about 5% follow the traditional religion. Our colleague Joshua from Sinapi Aba Trust, the local micro-lending organization with which Edify works, told us about the traditional religion, which has retained its influence because of the intimate relation to family loyalties and local mores. The traditional cosmology expresses belief in a supreme being called “Nyame” There are also the lesser gods that live in streams, rivers, lakes, trees, and mountains who serve as intermediaries between the supreme being and society. Ancestors are thought to be the most immediate link with the spiritual world, and people believe them to be constantly near, observing every thought and action of the living.
I leave you with some thoughts of Ghana: goats, bananas, watermelon, banku, plantains, red red, pineapples, wooden sculptures, slave castles, chiefs, Akan symbols, grasscutters…
One more letter coming--guess you have to wait to find out what grasscutters are!
Read letter #5 from Ghana.
Previous Letters from Ghana: