It's Not All Starving Children

Accra Travel Blog

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Please excuse my lack of updates thus far. The flow of electricity is less than constant, and the flow of wireless even less so. We have power outages about every two days for the evenings. Everyhone is also incredibly sick from adjusting to new food, so the lack of electricity to use the water system is less than ideal.

But other than that, Ghana is amazing. We've been doing a lot of stupid orientation things, but we've also done some really great stuff. Today we went to a village about an hour and a half outside of Accra, on the Volta River. It was just like you think of when you think of villages in Africa, and it was so unreal to be there. The children love to have their pictures taken if you show it to them first. They greeted us with drumming and dancing, and then they took us fishing and caught a huge catfish. It was so bizzare to come back from that and then go out to eat at an Italian restaurant (Mamma Mia is excellent, by the way) later that same day.

One of the things we can do in Ghana is take clases at Ashesi University, a school with about 300 students in our neighborhood. It's only been open for about five years, and it was started by a man named Patrick who went to school at Swarthmore and then lefft his job at Microsoft in Seattle to come back to Ghana and try to create leadership for ourn generation. He talked about hhow 30 years ago Ghana and Singapore had the same potential for developing, and now Singapore has something like the 11th most lucrative economy in the world and Ghana is still so behind, and it is the shining beacon of hope in the region. There is hardly any infrastructure and the city planning is next to obolete. The lack of street lights stands out immediately, but then the open gutters, as Patrick pointed out, are almost criminal in a place where malaria kills millions and the disease-carriers breed in standing water.

That being said, Patrick raised an excellent point. Yes, there are millions of kids in Africa who die every year from malaria, a completely curable disease. But there are millions more who don't die becasue they have parents who are incredibly resourceful and want only the best for their children. The people of Ghana are so friendly and welcoming; they make the US seem so cold. We jsut seem to have a philosophy of only caring for oursevles and those immediately close to us. THe community here is so important; it is everyon'e responsibility to care for everyone else, and that carries into daily life, even as far as simply greeting people on the street. More soon...
travelman727 says:
Wonderful observations! I spent two weeks in Liberia, West Africa putting up church tents. You are dead on with your comments; even in the midst of poverty, there is a sense of community, caring and commitment to one another :-D
Posted on: Nov 02, 2007
ctarrant says:
What's a naming ceremony? Did you get a differnt name?
Posted on: Aug 27, 2007
ctarrant says:
I wonder if this is where the title for Hillary's book comes from, It Takes a Village. Interesting. I don't understand the comparison for potential for development.
What an indredible adventure to go to the village. It's something I've always dreamed of. You're living it. Please write more. I'm going to show my classes. Your pictures are incredible.
Posted on: Aug 27, 2007
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