When people think of Ghana, various things tend to crop up in their mind: one thing I often hear is that Ghana is meant to be a very dangerous place, and the other thing I hear is that it is supposed to be somewhere to avoid because of this, because you won’t be able to go ten feet without someone wanting to steal your wallet (as if Heathrow Parking is any better? I have a good friend who was mugged at Heathrow airport while trying to reverse park…). This makes me laugh. I mean every place has its good and bad qualities, and that’s not to say that it is any better or worse than somewhere else. I suppose there are certain people, though, who will always have the same opinion and it won’t be changed in any way soon.
Another thing I hear is about energy efficiency: some people assume – usually with no real facts to back their argument up – that places like Ghana aren’t as energy efficient. To them I say look around your modern home and tell me how you are MORE efficient? This usually provokes laughter followed by a short pause. My point, I tell them, is that many people who don’t have as many luxury things are actually more efficient than the most technological societies out there. This is because instead of relying on machines to wash their dishes they just do it themselves.
The last point I usually bring up is about health and fitness: some of the people I have met in Ghana have been the most conscious of this, and a lot more so than many of my English friends who feed on fast food takeaways and the like. In other words, some people may be poorer than others, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are worse at living life.