Ghana trip Day 22
The last day in Ghana, I explored Accra with some friends.
Since our project was in Northern Reagan, this time I recognized how Accra (the biggest city in Ghana) is different from Tamale (the city in Northern Reagan).
Compared to Tamale, Accra is more systematized. Business is more active and you see more foreigners. Buildings are taller and look more stabled. People wear T-shirt, pants, suits, dresses etc like we do instead of wearing hand made fabrics. More people can speak English and used to seeing foreigners.
I had a chance to travel around Accra on my first day in Ghana. That time, I was surprised by how things were not organized.. But after spending 3 weeks in Tamale and visiting the village, I was more surprised by how perspectives and people can be different within Ghana. People in Ghana are very welcoming and that is the same wherever you are in Tamale or Accra, and I think it is part of their culture. Yet, once you start talking to them more, you hear very different stories.
People I met in Tamale are usually from Tamale, and they are planning to stay in where they grow up. They have very close childhood friends and hang out with those friends all the time. A lot of women in Tamale have jobs as tailors. For example, a taxi driver we had for our team was from Tamale. He was 25 year old, very nice man, married a woman who is now a tailor and is also from Tamale, and has one child. Our translator Nestor is also from Tamale, studied nursing and waiting to be replaced somewhere as a nurse by the government (this is another story of how their government is collapsed). Nestor has many childhood friends and they still live close to him. Even for traveling, not many people have been out side of Ghana.
On the other hand, people in Accra varies a lot (at least in my opinion). A man we met at the cafe told us that he used to teach African history at university in Rhode island. He has been to several other places in the US and passionate about playing drums. He even performed some music for us. Another man we met at Arts center taught us how he wanted to go to the US someday and told us about his brothers who are in Brazil and the US. It seemed to me that people in Accra are more interested in out side of its country, especially the US and they think the US is a great country with technology and everything.
I am neither trying to say what is good and bad, nor to define these are the differences. These are just a few things how I felt, and they can be completely different from how other people felt or the realities.
Some comments that a guy we met in Accra said made me think about the life style differences between in the US and in Ghana. He was just a guy working in Arts center selling drums, but he taught us how to play drums for free, took us to the beach (which is not a beach you think of… it is covered with trash and does not smell good there), and told us some history behind that beach. All the stories were interesting, but the one stood up to me was his comment that he made right before we said good bye to him. “I can do whatever I want and use my day however I want to use. I can spend my day talking to people like you (us) and share stories. but I wouldn’t be able to do that in the US. I would have to go back to work at certain point and always have to keep time in my mind. I can do this now because I work for myself. I don’t make much money like I would do in the US but I get to use my day as I want.”
Maybe when I am in the city, I tend to forget what’s really important for myself. Focusing on school, time, money, business, career… Through this trip in Ghana, I saw many smiles, got to hear interesting stories and made some great memories. Now I cannot wait to see my family and friends back home.