G is also for Guest. My wife had a unique experience that I thought would be interesting reading for A-Z. So without further ado, here's the better half.
I recently spent two weeks in Accra, Ghana, as part of the U.S. State Department’s Teachers for Global Classrooms program. The program is designed to help teachers build a globally focused curricula and develop their students’ global competencies. I had an incredible experience visiting schools and learning about the education and culture of Ghana. While two weeks in a country does not make me an expert by any means, I had some insights and experiences I thought I would organize by Gs.
Greetings: A common greeting in Ghana is “akwaaba” which means welcome. Many meetings with Ghanaians began with “You are welcome” to which I would reply “thank you.” This flip of the order of these expressions at first gave me pause and then a new appreciation and understanding of words I take for granted.
The celebration also featured the branches of the military. Throughout my stay in Ghana, I thought about how the military was featured as I was repeatedly told by taxi drivers, teachers, salesmen in markets that Ghana was the most peaceful country. It was such a consistent message seemingly borne from horrific neighboring conflicts in Togo, Cote d’ Ivore, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
Goats: I saw a lot of goats in Ghana. They were quite ever present in the city and in the country. They would wander all over town, but I was told they would find their way home every day. They were smallish goats, used for meat but not able to produce much milk. On my last day in Ghana I saw goats eating grass and plants in the middle of a traffic wedge. I don’t know if the photo does it justice.
Right after I took this photo I saw a hatchback taxi carrying two men in Muslim attire in the back seat. Behind them in the storage space were two goats. They were looking out the back window like they belonged there.
Globalization: I was very interested to see how Ghana fits into the increasingly interconnected global economy. The school where I spent most of my time was in the port city of Tema, 16 miles from Accra. Tema is the largest port in the country. I was thrilled to get close to the actual port and blown away by the shipping containers, such a tangible sign of development and our globalized economy.
Additionally, the containers served as stores for countless shopkeepers throughout Accra, Cape Coast, and Tema.
In Ghana, drinking water is packaged and sold in plastic pouches and sold all over. One school I visited had started a recycling initiative with these pouches.