September 28, 2010

Gift from Ghana

This is my first time in Ghana, but I hope it won't be the last. While the people of this country are clearly struggling on many levels, their spirit is beautiful. I have a reoccurring awakening when I travel to developing nations. While poverty may impact your body, your family, and your environment --- it need not impact your spirit, love and generosity. Our time here has been humbling. We visited the so-called Cape Coast castle where thousands of slaves were torn from their homeland and families, then held in the most deplorable conditions imaginable, before walking through the 'door of no return' to be loaded on ships. You know the rest of the story. We've also strolled through (and watched through the windows of public buses) village after village where people lack the most basic sanitation, access to clean water, and other basic human services that most of us take for granted. This place will help shatter any title you held to complain about your life. This is a gift from Ghana, and I pass it on to you. Be deeply grateful for what you have. Don't for a moment look past how lucky you are to enjoy the 'normal' conditions of your life. They are far from normal for so many people in our world.

With those thoughts as a backdrop, here are a couple of photos to show you why I'd love to return. The coastal areas are vibrant with fishermen and markets. Intense? Yes!. Fascinating? Indeed! Being the only white people you see in a day is a great emotional lesson on what it feels like to be a minority. We never felt too threatened, but we (and Ryder in particular, with his long blond hair) definitely felt like a spectacle. Mostly we heard "welcome" and "hallo" --- followed by big smiles.

We also found a little beacon of hope and an Ecological Handprint at the Baobab Children Foundation. These folks are running what we might call at home a "green school" and a restaurant where they serve up organic food (much of it grown at the school) while young women learn a trade. They also teach these young kids how to make "Trashy Bags" -- backpacks, briefcases, purses, etc made from the plastic water sachets that can be found seemingly everywhere on the ground around here. While the ultimate solution to the overwhelming plastic problem in our world lies upstream (preventing the wasteful use of plastic to begin with), meanwhile these folks and others at Trashy Bags in Accra, Ghana have found a way to help lift a few people out of poverty and clean up local streets, fields and waterways.

Posted by rohwedde at September 28, 2010 4:04 AM