Thursday, March 22, 2012

An Obruni's impressions of Ghana

Oburni is the term that Ghanaians use for white females and it is something that us white girls get quite used to hearing. I have been here for almost four weeks and have observed many things about the country where I have been volunteering. 

Firstly, their commitment to education is impressive. Obviously, like so many in developing countries, Ghanaians see it as a way to achieve social mobility and a tool to escape poverty. I just hope that the standard of education is good enough to ensure that they are able to use it to provide for themselves and their families as well as the wider community. I also hope that the government is able to facilitate economic growth so that there will be a demand for all those new graduates.   

Secondly, I noticed a collective sense of lethargy in Ghana. You cannot walk far without seeing a person sleeping on the pavement/bench or slouched over a table with their head in their hands. Maybe it's the heat, maybe it's the malnutrition. It seems in conflict with their drive to become better educated and to move out of poverty.  

A couple of evenings ago at the Ikando House (where I am staying) my room mate and I were both chatting about the state of things in Accra and we both had noticed a simmering tension that seemed to be blubbering under the surface. Despite Ghana's obvious commitment to Christianity and Islam, people seem to get angry and tempers seem to blow over really quickly. I don't know, but such displays of anger seems to be in contraction with the Christianity that I grew up with. One idea that we had that all it would take would be a suicide bomb to cause ciaos but I'm thinking more of a struggle as a result of water, food and employment insecurities, but we shall see.....          

Also, mobile technology is so far more advanced from Australia and in many ways it is to make up from the lower levels of computer ownership. In Ghana you can send credit to one another, access your bank account, etc etc and all from a non-blackberry/iphone type of phone.
Finally, so many Ghanaians that I've spoken to have relatives overseas in America, Europe as well as Australia and so many of them are so desperate to join them. I don't blame them really as life here is tough and being exposed to media that makes the west look very appealing. But in reality, adjusting to a culture that is so different and establishing yourself in a new culture makes moving to the developed world not that easy and not all that it is cracked up to be.      

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