We had a “Ghanaian Culture” presentation today. I’ll give you some of the highlights:
– Ghana is “right centic.”
This means that kids are forced to use their right hands. People shake with their right hands. You offer gifts with your right hand, and you eat with your right hand. People are introduced from right to left.
– Ghana has had many coups to get to the peaceful state they are in today. However, there are still political rivals that root back to different ethic groups.
– There are no religious conflicts in Ghana. Conflict occurs over which person comes to power as leader.
– Religions have become blended with traditional/tribal faiths. So, you could have a Christians who go to church Sunday… then Monday they sacrifice a deer to their ancestors in the Festival of the Deer.
– Inter-tribal marriage is acceptable, just not inter-faith marriages.
Families use to live in compounds with their extended families (aunts, grandparents, nephews). It provided a supports system, but it could get expensive. However, many couples are now choosing to live in their own house with their immediate families. Many frown on this because they believe mothers and fathers cannot raise a child alone. A community must raise a child.
– Children are named after days of the week
These start on Friday and last until Sunday. These are times of celebration and parties. Families spend a lot of money repainting their homes, buying food and alcohol, and making sure everyone is having fun. Unfortunately, in effort to have a big party many families don’t pay their child’s school bill. Therefore, they are sacrificing school for a party.
Ghanaians don’t value the arts. There are no museums or libraries. The Gates Foundation is currently working on a project to build a library.
Homosexuality is illegal. It is more of a don’t ask don’t tell policy. Most Ghanaian know people who are gay, but there is a passive acceptance. If any law passed making it legal there would be major conflict. There is no punishment (we were told of) for being gay.
– In general Ghana is a peaceful country with little trouble. They try to live by the idea “keep the peace.” So, while many may want to change something in their community, they would rather not rock the boat… so nothing changes. Of course, there are exceptions.
There is a National Health Insurance covering all citizens. However, it is poorly run and of poor quality. There are limited doctors and access to health care in general.