One of the most obvious differences I noticed when we first arrived in Tamale was the traffic. The main roads here are always busy; full of vehicles, motorbikes, cyclists, and pedestrians. Vehicles are often overflowing with people and the goods they are carrying. Cars pass each other frequently, with motorbikes constantly weaving in and out of traffic.
|Sheep on the Road|
In spite of the chaos, the Ghanaian people are incredibly friendly. Almost everybody you walk by on the street greets you and asks how you are. It is so beautiful to see how the people here interact with each other and how strong their sense of community is.
There are many more children in Ghana compared to at home. These children are very independent and they are cared for by the whole community. Many of the children are very happy to see us, but others get scared and it is likely that they have never seen a white person before.
In Ghana, time is a more fluid concept than it is in Canada. We call this 'Ghana time'. The expectations of when things will start and end here are more flexible and being late is not such a big problem. We went to church one day and part of the choir showed up after the service had started. While this may have been a big deal at home, in this case they just joined the rest of the choir and carried on. This really highlighted the concept of 'Ghana time' for me.
|A load from the market|
Daily life in Ghana has made me realize how much I take for granted at home. Here, I always have to think about the food and water that I am drinking and if it's safe to consume. I can't count the number of times I've reached for the tap when brushing my teeth, forgetting that I have to use bottled water instead. Water in Ghana is a resource that is not always readily available. The water tanks at our guest house in Tamale ran out sometimes, leaving us without the ability to shower. This predicament was made worse by the constant heat and sweat we experience here.
Although life in Tamale was sometime overwhelming and difficult, I am so grateful that I have had this opportunity to experience life and culture in this beautiful place.
4th Year BSN Student
University of British Columbia Okanagan