Note: I made two entries today, so I’d like you to read them! I deleted one of the entries from before as I thought it was a bit personal, and I wouldn’t have been able to communicate the context of my feelings very well, so it came off very negative and biting. So I apologize for anybody that may have been offended. But anyways, the entry below is my way of making up for it. I’ll be in Accra for the next week so I’m going to post a new blog entry almost every day as I start to prepare to go back home to Canada!
The other day in Kumasi, I saw a small headline roll across the news screen that made me jump and shout for joy. What could make me so happy? Let me show you:
POVERTY IN GHANA DOWN 52% IN 1999 TO 28.5% IN 2006
UNDP CONFIDENT THAT GHANA WILL REACH MDGS BEFORE 2015
That’s right, baby! Ghana is stepping up, and it will be ahead of the pack. I am so happy and so proud. What do I see around me? I see people working hard and striving to bring themselves out of poverty, I see people that want to help them. There is a man a minister who has a reputation — he was asked to come to the USA to get a high-salary job there, but he rejected and decided to stay in Ghana as a minister to help his own country. Ghanaians are proud of him, and, considering how much desire there is and how much prestige is attached to go to the USA, this man, he has done well.
I have high hopes for Ghana. When all the people of Ghana have access to safe, clean drinking water, quality sanitation, and opportunities for children of all incomes to have an education, then I will look back on my days here and I will feel proud that I was just a small, tiny part of making that dream come true. And I hope that as Ghana becomes a leader of development in Africa, that they will help their brothers and sisters in Africa to also develop.
This is the side of Ghana that many Ghanaians want me to show to Canadians – a Ghana that is growing, vibrant and full of hope. And often, having development workers come here all the time and share their stories of the poverty, it can cover up the stories of hope and achievement, and in some ways, even disempower the people, to think that Ghana always needs help. Well, it doesn’t. People here don’t all live in mud huts, they don’t engage in cannibalism, or spend the whole day sitting there, starving in the desert.
Kumasi, the city that I stayed in is developed, with paved roads, traffic lights, intersections, bureaucracies, police, and opportunities. There is construction. People are proud to be Ghanaian – the Ghanaians have won the African Cup of Nations four times in a row, I’ve heard, and they are hosting it in Ghana next year. There is hope for Ghanaians because of the large natural resources that are here: cocoa, diamonds, gold, lumber, and now even oil. Let’s just hope that these resources can be used to benefit Ghanaians and that the money doesn’t just get sucked up out of the country.
But Ghana, this applause is just for you.