Yesterday marked Ghana’s 60th year of Independence. What a young country! And the first in Africa to have gained independence from colonial rule. Four years later, Peace Corps was born and as they say ‘learned to walk in Ghana’ – it received the very first PCVs ever. This last week marked Peace Corps’ 56th birthday and the organization has been celebrating with highlights of host country hospitality.
With that as the theme and being in Ghana – I have got to brag. I think the only country that can compete with Ghana when it comes to hospitality is the Philippines. This is a completely unbiased opinion, mind you. 😉 Whenever Ghanaians ask me how I like Ghana, I always tell them it is like one of my home countries, the Philippines. Especially when it comes to welcoming strangers and our food culture. In Ghana, more food than a family can eat is always prepared because you never know who might drop in. In the Philippines, there is always a pot of rice ready to eat in case someone arrives hungry. Food is meant for sharing. And what better way to welcome someone to your home by sharing what nourishes you and your family? Of course there are cultural differences but it’s the similarities that really stand out. Needless to say, I am happy to be a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana.
This year I attended the town celebrations in my district capital, Walewale. School children always march, in school uniform, with very stern faces, looking very smart. They gather very early in the morning and start around 8am. The marching alone takes about two and a half hours! I feel bad for these kids standing for so long in the scorching heat.
While waiting though they can buy snacks and water from the various vendors walking around. The hardest jobs have got to be the cadets who are first in the field and must stand in formation until the end, along with the band members, playing continuously. None of these people get a break. This year, one cadet passed out during the marching parade. Props to all these students!
Other groups marched as well, representing their company or profession. For example, Zoomlion, a waste management company, a farmers group and the local Red Cross team.
It is a long weekend and I am back in Macondo. Generally people continued with their day like any other Monday. And it also happened to be a market day – market never takes a day off. It was also our trial day for Tisuŋ ni Taba bracelet sale. The girls had made over a hundred bracelets and about forty key chains – much to my surprise and disappointment…none sold. I do not know what happened but I suspect it was my fault. I did not stay and watch Mekashira to see her chosen method. The items are after all new products and maybe people just did not understand. Although a failure, there is much to be learned. For now, the items will go on consignment sale at our sub-office stores. PCVs seem to like them. I took some to the mid-service conference I had last week and sold all.
Happy birthday to Ghana and Peace Corps!