Sunday, December 29, 2013
By: Zach Bourgraf
Before reaching Ghana I had few expectations, but the ones I did have were similar to my expectations of Thailand; hot, rural, and slightly dirty. Upon arriving the hotness and rural aspects were deemed true, yet the slightness of filth was washed away buy thousands of pounds of trash littered throughout the city of Accra. In my opinion, Ghana seems to be a country of filth and dirt. Even the people who teach from AUCC blatantly litter in front of us without even acknowledging the fact that they are. While driving through the city you will see piles of trash being burnt out in the open with a big black cloud of smoke pouring from the ruble. It almost makes you sick to see that that is how the citizens treat their air and land. Deceiving the obvious problem of trash and pollution is not only done by the people of Ghana it is done through technology as well. When I turned on my smart phone the weather report noted that there was an extreme amount of “fog” covering Accra, I did not let this fool me because the “fog” was most definitely “smog” from the factories and poorly maintained cars.
Pictured below are some of the slums that were right next to my internship at the Daily Graphic.
One aspect that I observed (also similar to Thailand) was that there is a great aspect of power distance in Ghana. The poor are poor and the rich are rich. The figures of authority and prestige do not rest in the bankers and big business men like the United States and advice and knowledge does not come from the people relevant to the topic. For example, when I was watching TV there was a commercial about a car was business and the person that was vouching for the company was dressed in a military uniform. You would expect the person giving the advice to be a car salesman or a car mechanic (some one with frequent use and knowledge of cars) but the credibility rested simply in the military uniform.
Our Christmas day was made pleasant by our program director, as we were able to go to church and celebrate similarly to America. The church service was held at University of Ghana, which had a beautiful chapel with a great amount of space. The preacher who gave the sermon was ecstatic and almost as good of a speaker as Barak Obama. His physical gestures and verbal emphasis brought the building to life.
Also included in the service was a small treat for the few visitors attending the service; we were treated to a Ghana baptism ceremony. One by one the children were walked into a giant pool of water and fully submerged. To my astonishment there in fact, was a giant pool inside of the church. In my church the pastor only splashes water on the head of the person being baptized. I found great pleasure being in attendance with such a traditional ceremony.
One disappointment of the service is that in one of the choruses we sang “and the government shall rest upon his shoulders” it seemed a bit controlling and brainwashing to say the government rests upon the lords shoulders.
In conclusion, the trip has brought many great surprises so far. My eyes have been opened to a completely different way of life, which has given me a great perspective of the world. With the tightly jammed packed scheduled days we visit and view such great detail of this country. I am excited to for the future days to come in Ghana to expand my knowledge.