(written Aug 9th)
So I survived the first night, it’s not too hot here right now probably hotter in TO then Accra. On the plane I sat between two mid-aged Ghanaian women, and we didn’t talk until the plane was landing but the one who was returning from the UK after completing a masters said how difficult it was for her to find a job in the UK and commented on how there are few jobs in Ghana, then the other somewhat older lady said “It’s not easy”. I have heard this phrase so many times in Ghana last summer, and now on the first day before even touching Ghanaian soil I hear it again. It’s so strange being here, like surreal, and it doesn’t feel weird or foreign, but normal to see this or that or do this or hear that and so on. But one of the things that I don’t foresee myself ever getting used to is some of the smells. In most places I’ve been to in Ghana the sanitation infrastructure is lacking and therefore it’s not uncommon to pass by open gutters (about 1.5 feet deep) along the street and the smell of raw sewage.
It did feel good to experience the friendliness from some people though, like the older lady I sat beside on the plane wished me a safe and happy stay in Ghana. It’s just the little random acts of kindness that give me a little hope. Sure kindness won’t solve poverty here, but I feel that plenty of Canadians and I have much to learn about being good hearted people. It’s almost like the kindness and warm-heartedness makes the poverty slightly less difficult — but that’s coming from my comfortable position as a white relatively wealthy man here.
On our way from the airport we passed huge houses gated in with high walls, like houses that middle class Canadians would love to live in, that looked great, and they had nice cars beyond the gates. Then not too long we passed a different part of town where makeshift shacks were built with tarp, metal sheets, and wood. It’s like no matter where you go, if there is a neoliberal capitalist system there’s a large gap between the rich and poor. Even the Ghanaian lady on the plane with her master’s degree who has never been to Northern Ghana can’t get a job in the UK where she schooled or in her home country of Ghana.
“It’s not easy” is right.