Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A lesson in Ghanaian Culture

I meant to write about this a couple of days ago but have been completely sidetracked by other items like our donation drop off at the ENRH and the Ghanaian Navy Clinic. Project HOPE again donated medicines and medical supplies to the region. I would like to just say “Thank you!” to our distribution center that does such a fabulous job organizing, packing and shipping our donations to the various countries. It is really impressive.

Also included in the busy schedule has been a reception all Project HOPE volunteers were invited to attend on the flight deck of the USS Nashville celebrating APS’s work in Ghana. This was a really fun event including an African dance group and great food put together by the USS Nashville’s crew. Marina has gotten to know the USS Nashville’s food crew very well because she gets up so early in morning she helps them set-up the tables and start the coffee in the morning, so they all know her.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a little about Ghana’s Central Region Culture. When our volunteers first started working in the hospitals many of them were asked what day they were born, as in Monday, Tuesday etc. Most of us couldn’t answer this question. It was explained to us that a baby is given a name for the day of the week they born on and they wanted to give us these names. Below is a list of the names:

Below I am also copying something I saw on plaque at one of the castles about the region’s culture.

Family Life and Social Organization

The Family: The extended family is the bedrock of society in the Central Region. Each person is born into an ebusa, a clan or system of blood relationships. Because Akan inheritance is matrilineal, a person belongs to the same ebusua as his or her mother. The clan is the largest family unit. Each clan traces its origins to an ancestress, members of the same clan regarding themselves as distant relatives.

Within the family, children are instructed in proper social behavior. In addition to their formal schooling, they learn a wide range of skills that will enable them to be productive in society. If a member of the family is a tailor, a seamstress, a metalsmith, or a potter, for example, interested children from the immediate and extended family may apprentice themselves to learn the trade.
Religion: It is within the family that children are introduced to the religious beliefs and practices that frame Akan social ad spiritual life. The Central Region is characterized by a large number of religious traditions existing side by side. Traditional religious beliefs remain strong in this area, coexisting with Christianity and Islam.

Among the Akan peoples it is believed that the Supreme Being—called Nyankopon, Nyame or Twereduampon—created the universe and works through lesser deities called Abosom. Lagoons, mountains, rivers, and trees are believed to be inhabited by these spirits who can be invoked at times of trouble. The Akan believe in life after death, and that dead relations play an active role in society. Offerings of libations and prayers are ways of communicating with venerated ancestors who offer a means for intercession between God and the living.

I hope you enjoyed our cultural lesson on Ghana today!


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