Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Explored: Ghana and Morocco
About: University of Virginia Student
"My first day in Ghana was as exciting as I imagined it would be. In fact, it took no time beyond me taking my first step outside of our hotel into the dense and dusty air of Ghana to begin my ethnographic experience. Immediately, I saw a stark contrast between the city of Accra and my own hometown in St. Louis – the streets were bustling with entrepreneurs. For miles on end women and men walked up and down the streets with baskets/containers atop their heads selling every item from fruit to clothing. While our bus was stopped at lights smiling men knocked on our windows and attempting to get us to buy wooden figurines, sandals, and bagged water. Even more amazing was that it was all occurring at 7 am in the morning. The Ghanaian entrepreneur doesn’t sleep! After only a few hours, I am confident that the Ghanaian people are a self-driven sort determined to be their own boss.
I was also struck by the myriad colors that clanged onto so many well-dressed folks as they walked up and down the streets in nearly 95 degree heat. Most all of the men were wearing collared shirts with colorful designs and prints. Many of the women were wearing long flowy dresses with equally loud prints. If I hadn’t known any better, I would have guessed that the entire were city was headed to an annual festival requiring them to wear the best of their wardrobe. Yet, these people were merely going about their day. This was confirmed when I walked into the Vodafone office to see that these executives of the second largest telecom company in Ghana were dressed in all colors of the rainbow as well.
Thirdly, I was amazed to find how hospitable and friendly everyone was that we met. From the business execs to our tour guides to the folks on street, everyone was so happy to make our acquaintance. And it wasn’t that fake happy that we saw all too often in America where people are nice because they feel that they are required to be nice. These folks were genuinely excited to share their companies, their thoughts, and their country with American students. I’m looking forward to exploring their excitement over the next week!"