Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ghana, My Way

For this one entry, I would like to speak seriously for a moment in an attempt to put this blog, and our experiences here, in perspective.

My purpose in starting this blog was to keep my family and friends up to date with our adventure in Africa, and although I have attracted many new and interesting friends along the way, my point is still mostly to offer some glimpses of our privileged, somewhat sheltered, life in Ghana. I can't change my skin color, I can't (and won't) try to live with less money, and there is no way for me to shed my native culture- one that is so different from that of Ghana.

So my posts tend to focus on the things that catch my interest, things that are very different from what we are used to, things that are new or that make me shake my head in wonder.

I'm not trying to minimize the poverty, or the problems. I'm not an apologist for the damage done to this and other African nations by colonial governments, and I'm not going to waste your time with my take on the political situation here (especially considering the embarrassing and needlessly confrontational government my own country is exporting to the world).

I can't fix Africa's problems. I can't fix Ghana's problems. I can help my little corner of the world and my Ghanaian friends, but that is between them and me.

If you find my descriptions of life here simplistic- so be it. The day to day drudgery is no more interesting to write about than to read. But I have had enough feedback from people who have lived here and loved it as I do, (and who miss it now that they are gone) to know that my perceptions of Ghana are accurate.

We live with appalling shortages of everything from electricity to water to medical care. But they are appalling only to people from a first world country used to an incredible amount of security, civil liberties, solid infrastructure and a strict adherence to rule of law. I do not try to push my American sensibilities onto Ghanaian culture or the Ghanaian people, but I can't help seeing life here from an American perspective- that's who I am.

We are guests in this country, a fact that we try never to forget. The Ghanaian people have been almost universally welcoming, helpful, friendly, open, and kind to us. I hope that anyone who has been with me through all these entries can understand that without my explanation.

Beyond that, this is my experience- it can't be anyone else's and doesn't try to be. It is what it is.

Thanks for reading. :-)