Monday, January 6, 2014

Ghana- Building the Dream

by Joe Jackson,
OU journalism student
in Accra, Ghana

One of the first and most interesting things I have noticed on this trip to Ghana is how the majority of skyscraper like buildings are only halfway completed with construction. It’s actually a rarity to see a big office building that is fully finished. When observing the skyline of buildings in Ghana from the fourth floor of a restaurant we ate at, nearly every building was under construction with the concrete shell being the only thing that is finished. The question to ask isn’t how long these buildings have been under construction, but weather or not they are still being constructed.

I used to think that these huge construction projects were just limited to the capital city of Accra, but once we were able to venture out into the countryside of Ghana, it was apparent that that wasn’t the case. Every small town in Ghana that we drove through had a staggering number of big buildings, and even small homes, that were in the middle of being constructed. One of my colleagues, Carol Hector-Harris, suggested to me that a family would construct a building only when they have earned enough money to construct a single floor of the building. For example, we saw a huge number of small homes with only one floor complete that had long metal poles jetting from the roof. This meant that the family was intending to add on a second floor to the existing building once they earned enough money to do so. The idea of paying off a mortgage on a building does not exist in Ghana. The word debt is nowhere to be found in the Ghanaian dictionary.

 Although some might view this scene of unconstructed buildings as being a major eye sore for the country of Ghana, I believe that it is a beautify scene. These huge unconstructed buildings tell me that Ghana is not giving up. They resemble a dream and an aspiration as to what Ghana should be. Although I fear that these projects may take years upon years to complete, at least the country of Ghana is able to dream big. Ghana is striving to great. Ghana is striving to be powerful beyond measure.

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