“Ladies and Gentlemen… Meet Ghana!” 🙂
Here I sum up of what I know (and think) of Ghana, again, as an Indonesian who was oblivious to how the Ghanaians live…
1. Ghana is a West African country. Yes, West Africa… we are no where close to South Africa. The distance between Ghana and South Africa is more than the distance between Thailand and Australia, or between Canada and Venezuela. (So please stop asking me if I go to South Africa often!)
2. Ghana is a small country, smaller than the island of Kalimantan (Borneo), smaller than Sumatra, even smaller than UK. The whole population of Ghana is about 22 million people. That is about the same number of unemployed people in Indonesia. 😀 (Population of Indonesia is about 240 million people)
3. The official language in Ghana is English. Nevertheless, the locals speak their own dialects for daily activities (being most popular: Twi dialect), and they learn English at school.
4. Ghana is totally surrounded by French speaking countries being: Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and Togo. This makes French to be the most used international language in Ghana after English.
5. Ghana is a sub-Saharan country with a tropical climate. Yes tropical! We don’t live in the middle of a desert. On the contrary, we have big trees, big animals, big insects, big rain, big humidity, and big heat. (Just like at home in Indonesia :D)
6. Ghana is not adjacent to the Sahara Desert. There is Burkina Faso between Ghana and Sahara.
7. Other than the rainy season, Ghana has Harmattan season. That is the dry and dusty and hot at day/cool at night season. During this season, the wind blows from Sahara to the south bringing with it the red sand from the Sahara desert. During Harmattan, we’ll have sand everywhere… On the road, on the cars, on the windows, on the floor, on my curtains, on the carpet, in my eyes, in my nose, in my mouth… simply sand sand and sand everywhere… 🙂
8. The cocoa produce is one of many Ghanaian prides. (Cocoa is what chocolate is made of). Ghana is the second largest cocoa producer in the world! The first being Ivory Coast, and the third being… guess what…! Indonesia…! 😀
9. In Ghana, when you have a fever and see a doctor, you will be tested for Malaria. Just the way we will always be tested for Typhoid in any case of fever in Indonesia. 🙂 (Every single Ghanaian I have ever met, has had Malaria at least once in their lives and my poor little son has already had it twice in 6 months!)
10. I find that Ghanaians have the most generous laughter. Just seeing them laugh can make me laugh.
11. Most of Ghanaian people are religious. I like this! 🙂
12. The women of Ghana are very proud of their traditional dresses. I love this fact about Ghana. The traditional dress is seen on a daily basis, and it flatters their naturally curvy figures. It’s usually a set of blouse and long skirt, made of African Batik or African Print. Bright coloured outfits really flatter their dark skin. Splendid! 😀
13. Yes, there is something called African Batik or also known as African Print. There is a history behind this colourful African print. It was brought to Ghana in the 1800 by the Dutch, guess where from…?? Yes, Indonesia! In those days, both Indonesia, and Ghana were colonised by the Dutch, and the beautiful Indonesian cloth was brought to Africa, and then reproduced by print (instead of by batik which means: write).
14. Similarities between African Print, and Indonesian Batik are: both are considered to be prestigious clothing fabric. Both symbolise social status of the wearer depending on the motif being worn (whether you are from a higher or lower class in society). Both are beautiful. Both are commonly used as part of wedding dowry in both countries. Both typically use breathable, absorbent fabric as their basis. etc.
15. Differences between African Print, and Indonesian Batik are: Real African Print is… uhm… printed. 🙂 Real Indonesian Batik is hand written/painted. African Print is being produced in industrial scale. Indonesian Batik is manually produced in a smaller quantities. African Print can use any colour imaginable. Indonesian Batik is generally limited to earth colours. The motive of African Print is large and chunky. The motive of Indonesian Batik is small, and dainty. African Print is generally better value compared to the pricier Indonesian Batik.
16. The young ladies of Ghana shows no reservation in flaunting their curves. Tight clothing is a staple for a night out with friends. They can be thin, fat, or somewhere in between, all will be wearing super tight dresses.
17. Showing skin is desirable. Again, the young ladies seem to like wearing minimum clothing, and showing maximum skin. It could be very, very, very short pants, or micro mini skirts, or low plunging neck lines, to body squeezing tank tops. The sexier the better. They even sell special kinds of bra that can be seen (due to very low neck line) and still look cute.
18. I find the Ghanaians to have the most hair styling creativity. When I get away with straight pony tail for the last 20 years, the Ghanaian ladies do the most extraordinary hairstyle imaginable and they change it as often as once a week. Whether it is long, short, straight, curly, braided, plaited, buns, ups, downs, blonde, black, brunet, blue, pink, wig, weave, clip on, relaxed, etc… You name it, they do it! Remarkable…
19. These Ghanaians seem to have natural talent of having athletically toned body. I see elementary school girls as young as 9 or 8 yo, and they have bodies like Sarah Jessica Parker, by nature. 😀 Their arms and legs are beautifully shaped (God must’ve been in a good mood when He created the Africans). While non-African kids would have arms and legs either looking like twigs or sausages, the African kids look as if they’ve been attending the Olympics.
20. Just like in Indonesia, the usage of right hand for social interaction is encouraged. It is impolite to use left hand (such as for handing something over, or for receiving it). And the reason for this custom, is the same for both Ghana and Indonesia. It is because we use right hand to eat, and left hand for toilet affairs. 😛
to be continued….
Dian Retno Wulandari. Going Ghanaian!
PS: If you are Ghanaian, please comment. I’d like to know what you think. 🙂