Friday, February 29, 2008

Cultural Similarities between Africans Home and Abroad

Food- Fried and boiled plaintains, goat meat as well as rice and peas which are eaten in the Caribbean are eaten in Ghana as well. Fried chicken and watermelon are eaten here regularly as well. Food in Ghana is well seasoned just African food in the U.S. and Caribbean.
Religion-I have been lucky enough to attend a few spirit filled church services that have passionate preaching just like I am use to back home.
Sense of time- There is an agricultural rather than an industrial sense of time. This is true of Africans in the Caribbean as well as the U.S.
Music- Indigenous music in Ghana is called Life Music. Sounds like a combination of Soca/Calypso and Reggae. When music is played and sung in church I have also observed a stuccato hand clapping that I have also observed in the African American church services as well.
Family-Importance of extended family, although with the spread of Christanity and increase of travel the nuclear family is beginning to overshadow the importance of the extended family for many.
Famous Africans abroad with ties to Ghana-W.E.B Dubois, George Padmore, Malcolm X, Stevie Wonder, John Henrik Clarke, Louis Armstrong, Rita Marley(wife of Robert Nesta Marley, Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou, Issac Hayes

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Experiences In Ghana

Wedding 9/07- Went to a wedding with the Assistant Head Adminstrator Mr. Etroo. The wedding and ceremony were just like back home. The only differencnce was some parts were in Twi. I was able to take some pictures, enjoy the food and socialize.
Pan African Lecture 9/18/07-Very Informative.Went with a group of students to a small college. Students from the college and other secondary schools were present also learned that the African liberation movements of the 1950's and 1960's were financed by the masses of the people, not the ruling elite.
Benin- 10/16-10/20/07- Visited a fish market on the coast. Drove down the trail Africans walked down on their way to the New World. Saw a town where a few generations back, some Brazilians repatriated to Benin. They were able to trace their lineage. Learned that Amazons were in Benin and that it is also the home of voodoo. Chief Toffa Palace-6 acre palace. Chief had 98 wives and the palaces largesse illustrates the comfort and abundance in which West Africa was living. Ghanian Embassy in Benin-Got to meet the ambassador. I was very impressed. He was intelligent and charming. I was even happier when the students were exposed to possible jobs in the area of Foreign Service. The students asked good questions and we even took pictures with the Ambassador.
Boti Falls- Went on a hike for about 30 minutes, rested for about 15-20 minutes on a huge rock, drank some coconut water and took pictures. Afterwards we hiked further and descended upon the waterfall. It was very nice.
Kwame Nkrumah Burial Site 10/24/07- Final resting place of Ghana's first president. Museum was great alot of artifacts that belonged to Kwame Nkrumah. However, the place needs to be maintained and the gift shop did not have any of the books he wrote.
Dubois Center 10/25/07- The last home of W.E.B Dubois. Considered by many as a titan in the area of Pan Africanism.  He made Ghana his home before his death in 1963. Considering how great he was I w
as surprised at the humbleness of his abode.
El Mina Slave Castle 11/10/07- I have visited it twice. Once with a teacher on the same program I am on and another time with some students at the school who are part of the Peer Mediation Club.
KaKum National Preserve 11/07- Arranged for students to visit the preserve, experience the canopy walk, but we were not lucky enough to see any large animals like elephants or monkeys. Not only were students able to enjoy their physical environment but they were also able to learn about how to care for their physical environment.
Legal Aid 11/13/07 Clinic Students got to see conflict resolution in action. Instead of only reading about theory within the stale confines of a classroom, they got to see the process in action. Further they got to ask questions of the counselors afterwards.
American Foreign Service Interviews- Took students to interview for study in the United States. Not that I had to do anything but watch tv and read the newspaper while they studied and quizzed each other. Found out on 1/29/08 that a student in my class got accepted for an exchange. I spoke with his father and he was very proud.
Akosombo Dam 11/30-12/1- Huge dam built by Nkrumah to supply the country with energy. Near the dam seemingly on the highest mountain is a presidential palace built by Nkrumah as a residence and meeting place.
Parliament-Organized by the department chair, it was fascinating. The students were engaged and had the chance to see the legislative process literally in action. I was impressed with the size of the building and how focused the law makers were and with the overall transparency of government. Lawmakers were openly questioned by their peers. At this particular session they were reviewing the hundreds of schools that got funding in the area of transportation. With elections scheduled for December 2008, Ghana's democratic institutions are safe and secure.
Exam Malpractice-Brought in a speaker to speak with the students about various strategies to deal with the peer pressure of cheating in their academic lives and the importance of integrity in the area of citizenship.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Modern Day Ghana

Akwaaba! That means welcome in Twi(one of the more common languages spoken in Twi. Thank you for visiting my blog about my experiences while in Ghana. I am fortunate to be able to participate in a program that allows me to exchange classrooms with a teacher in another classroom. First, here are some quick facts about Ghana from the Visitors Handbook 2003 given out by the U.S Embassy


Capital: Accra

Type: Constitutional democracy

Political Parties: In December 7, 2000 elections, John A. Kufor of the New Patriotic Party(NPP) won the presidential vote with 56.73% of the vote defeating Rawlings' vice-president and handpicked successor, John Atta Mills of the NDC. The NPP also won 100 of the 200 seats in Parliament. John Kufor also won the election of 2004 and cannot serve more then two terms. Elections are again scheduled for December of 2008.

Economic Overview

GDP: $5.03 billion (2000)

GDP Per Capita $258 (2000)

Trade: Exports $1.6 billion: cocoa($600 million), aluminum, gold, timber, diamonds, manganese, bauxite. Imports: $1.9 billion: petroleum ($272 million, food, industrial raw materials, machinery, equipment.

U.S. Exports:$200 million (2001)

Imports: $187 million (2001)

Major Trading Partners: Germany, United Kingdom, United States, Nigeria

Fiscal Year: Calendar Year

National product real growth rate: 4.2% (2001 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 21% (2001 est.)

Unemployment rate: 15% (2001)

Budget: Revenues $1.0; billion; expenditures $905 million, including capital expenditures of $200 million (1992)

Industries: Mining, lumbering, light manufacturing, aluminum, food processing

Agriculture: Accounts for about 50% of GDP(including fishing and forestry); the major cash crop is cocoa; other principal crops-rice, coffee, cassava, peanuts, corn, shea nuts, timber; normally self sufficient in food.

Currency: 1 cedi()= 100 pesewas

Minimum salary: 5,500 cedis (April 2002)

Population: 19.53 million (2000 est.)

Life Expectancy at birth: total population 55.19 years

male: 53.27 years

female: 57.17%

Ethnic divisions: Black African 99.8%

Major Tribes-Akan 44%

Mole-Dagomba 16%

Ewe 13%

Ga 8%

European and other 0.2%

Religion: Christian 35%

Indigeneous beliefs 31%

Muslim 27%

Other 7%

Languages: English (official), African languages(Akan, Mole-Dagomba, Ewe and Ga)

My Time In Ghana

History of Ghana

Medieval Ghana (4-13th Century)

The Republic of Ghana is named after the medieval Ghana Empire of West Africa. The actual name of the Empire was Wagadugu. 'Ghana' was the title given to the kings who ruled the kingdom. It was controlled by Sundiata in 1240AD, and absored into the larger Mali Empire. Georgraphically, the old Ghana is 500 miles north of the present Ghana, and occupied the area between the Rivers Senegal and Nniger. Some inhabitants of present Ghana have ancestors which are li nked to medival Ghana. They can be traced down to the Mande and Voltaic people of northern Ghana-the Mamprussi, the Dagomba and the Gonja. Anecdotal evidence has connected the Akans to this great Empire. The evidence lies in names like Danso shared by the Akans of present Ghana and Mandikas of Senegal/Gambia who have strong links with the Empire.

Visitors Handbook 2003
American Embassy Accra, Ghana

Tuesday, November 6, 2007