Sharing your travel: Ghana

JAKE HOLT
STAFF WRITER

Ghana, a country located on the coast of West Africa, has twenty nationally recognized languages. “Ghana” in Soninke, an African language, means “Warrior King.” This name dates back to the Medieval period where Ghana was an empire that stretched north into what is present-day Guinea.

Garett Heaney (’20) visited Ghana and reflected on a very positive and welcoming country.

“There was an event at one of the schools we visited where they put a cloth around our waists and taught us Ghanaian dances for what felt like forever. The music and dances were great,” said Heaney. “Afterward, they did a religious ceremony and welcomed us into their village. The food they provided was wonderful! This village went above and beyond for their celebration in thanking us for our help in their school.”

The most popular forms of music are Ghanaian jazz and its oldest form of secular music called “highlife.” A popular genre created by the youth of Ghana that rose up in the 90’s is called “hiplife,” which combines hip-hop and “highlife.” Instruments used in Ghana can consist of talking drums, log xylophones and akan drums.

“Ghanaian cuisine is starch and protein-based. Soups are widely made and many signature dishes, such as Banku and Fufu, are staples of their diet. They also have LARGE portion sizes,” said Heaney. “Also, if you stay with a host family, they will most likely cook you French fries if they want to make you an ‘American’ meal.”

Travel in Ghana sounds similar to that of a more rural area in the United States.

“Dirt roads encompass the country of Ghana with many being unfinished. Travel is long but manageable. Hiring a driver would be your best course of action,” Heaney said.

Every culture has different social norms. Heaney reflects on just one that he noticed.

“A social difference I noticed was that everyone says good morning/afternoon/ evening whenever they meet you. Unlike here in The United States, it is rude in Ghana to start a conversation without saying one of those three phrases depending on the time of day,” said Heaney.

During the 13th century, Ghanaians developed their unique art of adinkra printing. Hand-printed and hand-embroidered adinkra clothes were made and used exclusively by the then Ghanaian royalty for devotional ceremonies. Each of the motifs that make up the corpus of adinkra symbolism has a name and meaning derived from a proverb, a historical event, human attitude, ethology, plant lifeform or shapes of inanimate and human-made objects.

Heaney traveled to Ghana on a P-Global Scholarship.

“I went to Ghana with the P-Global scholarship through a student-run non-profit organization called The Five North Project. The Five North Project’s purpose is to supply students in the Volta Region of Ghana with technology, such as desktop computers, projectors and printers for educational enhancement,” said Heaney. “We traveled to over 20 schools and delivered and installed over 550 computers throughout the 3 and a half weeks in Ghana.”

Heaney said, “My favorite part about visiting Ghana would be the people. I’ll never forget the interactions I had with the chieftains and their community members. They welcomed us and the volunteers, and they would throw festivals for us after we helped their school(s). The people loved when we showed interest in their culture and would teach us about their history and country.”

Heaney gives some final advice for anyone thinking about traveling to the beautiful country of Ghana.

“Ghana is a beautiful country with friendly people. They embrace tourists and enjoy hosting people from abroad. Visit waterfalls and safaris as much as possible if you ever go!”

A gander at Germany

JAKE HOLT
STAFF WRITER

Germany is one of the most economically influential members of the European Union. Germany has the world’s fifth largest economy. Large companies contributing to the economy are companies like Siemens (industrial conglomerate), Volkswagen Group (automotive), and Fresenius (medical equipment and supplies).

“Travel in Germany is actually super easy. They have a ton of public transportation options like busses, trains, trams, subways and taxis,” said Anna Dobyns (’20). “Also, pretty much everyone there bikes all the time. You have to be careful when you’re walking through the cities because of the amount of bikers on the sidewalk. They even divide the sidewalks into walking lanes and biking lanes in most places.”

Germany also has an expressway-like road called the “Autobahn,” which is known for its lack of a permanent speed limit in a lot of areas. The recommended speed limit is 130 km/h (about 81 m/h).

Another service that you can use to get around the country quickly is the German Intercity-Express (ICE). These trains travel inside Germany and into neighboring countries. The speeds of these trains can reach up to 300 km/h (about 190 m/h).

Eryn Corinth (’20) commented on the food of Germany. “German cuisine is really hardy, there’s a lot of breads and meats.”

Dobyns had a similar experience. “Cuisine there was pretty much what you would expect from Germany. Lots of brats, potatoes, sauerkraut, pretzels, pork and beer. What I loved about their food though was that everything was so fresh. It was a nice break from all of the processed food we’re used to in America.”

Germany is a democracy that has a parliament. One house of parliament, known in German as Bundestag (which translates to “Federal diet”), is much like the United States of America’s House of Representatives. It’s counterpart, the Bundesrat (federal council), is comparable to the Senate.

Germany has some cultural views that differ from ours. “In general, Germans are quieter and more reserved than Americans. For example, after we had landed in Munich and were in customs and immigrations for our passports to be stamped, the building was absolutely quiet, and no one was speaking,” said Corinth.

“There’s a lot of social differences but the one that came to me first is the difference between our views on alcohol. In Germany, they can drink wine and beer starting at 16 and liquor at 18,” said Dobyns. “Due to this, a lot of the alcohol abuse that we see in the US, especially in young adults, isn’t as much of an issue there because they’ve been taught from a younger age how to properly approach drinking.”

When asked what her favorite memory in Germany was, Corinth said, “My favorite experience in Germany was visiting Wartburg Castle and being able to see the room and desk where Martin Luther transcribed the Bible from Hebrew and Greek to the vernacular German”.

Germany is highly recommended for anyone who is going to Europe. If you have any questions ask Corinth or Dobyns.

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