Being in Ghana has revealed a new understanding to what local pride is for the Ghanaian people. This has given me a better understanding of what local pride means to me being an American in this country. While sitting at the dinner table the other night talking with my Host Mom I brought up the subject of local pride and asked her what she thought local pride meant to her for her country. She stated, “Love for Ghana and love for her family.” She explained that the Ghanaian people love their country. They may not agree with the way leadership handles the issues of the people, but when they go to other places like the UK or the USA there is no place like home. The Ghanaian warmth is missed. The love for their family gives them strength to face the many challenges they are faced with on a daily basis, because of the strong family and friend ties they share. These adversities, such as not having electricity and water on a daily basis; the non-communication from the government about important issues; and the poverty that the country deals with daily. The adversities help to pull communities together that give the Ghanaian people a strong pride about themselves and their country.
As I sat there listening to her speak about this love and pride, I flashed back to the food market she took me to. In my mind I saw each face I either interacted with or walked by their food stand. The proudness they had about their food stand. I saw the meat man and how proud he was of his beef that was just slaughtered for sale and the ladies I brought vegetables from and others who were selling fish and other meats, or clothing. No matter what it was they were selling, their was this sense of pride. They did it with the biggest smiles on their faces. Then I thought about how I felt when I was in the market. At that time I didn’t understand how they could sell this food with all the bugs flying and landing on it, or how they expected someone to buy from them in these conditions. Now reflecting back on this scene in my mind I truly understand that to them this is their way of life and there is nothing wrong with it. Their attitudes were warm and welcoming, and their proudness of what they had to offer was just as strong.
On Thursday July 9th I visited with a human resource manager of a prominent beach resort I also asked him about how he looked at the local pride of his country. His response was “the Ghanaian people are very welcoming.” He has never traveled outside of Ghana so he really could not compare his country to others like my Host Mom, but he could share that same warmth and proudness of his country. During my observations of Ghana I have been forced to really focus on what it means to be Ghanaian. Watching the loyalty that the people have for this country, in spite of their hardships they maintain this welcoming warmth that makes you reevaluate yourself and the thing in which you value the most that they may not always have access to.