Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Teach a man to fish or send him to school.

This past weekend was incredible. I spent Saturday afternoon to Sunday night in a huge house on the beach with a group of friends. We enjoyed some white sand, pale beer, and amazingly refreshing breeze. The friends I joined are mostly Ghanians who were educated and/or group up in the UK and have returned. 

Society here is distinctly stratified socioeconomically with education being the most obvious separating factor. Education is free up until age 14 at which point you pay for secondary education (typically boarding schools). Then of course universities are expensive compared to average earnings ($2 per day) and the demand is higher than the seats in classrooms - you often find standing room only in many classrooms. But education is understood as the gateway to a better future so if families who have any money, send their kids as far along in school as possible and out of country for university - hence most of the people I interact with through work are UK or US educated. 

During this past weekend, I spent most of the day watching the fishermen at work. With their hand-crafted boats and tattered nets, setting them beyond the ocean break. After a few hours, the nets would be pulled in from the shore by all the available hands on deck, including the smallest of boys. As the sparse catch hit shore, the men pile around to pull out the fish while kids would crawl through their legs trying to grab what they could scrounge. Women gathered around the harvest with baskets and bowls sorting the fish and preparing to walk the shore selling the fresh catch with their container perched on their head. 

Honestly the women here must have necks of steal. They can and will carry anything on their head - live fish, a table top with sandwich fixings, a enormous bowl of fruit, bucket of water - all while navigating traffic, carrying children, and selling their goods. I even saw a woman walking with probably a hundred bras ready to sell on the street in traffic. What I wondered is who buys a bra from their car window.  Men do carry things to sell on their heads as well although not often bras. Its nice as you can buy anything from your car window from toilet paper to a 3 ft x 5 ft mirror. 

I will stop here. I realize I need to blog more often so I write a more digestible amount in each tidbit. Bon appetite

Weekly Stats:  Running Water 28.5%  Electricity: 78.5%  Av Temperature 33 C / 91.4 F


  1. Great story. and yes. you do need to blog more often ;)Missing you.