Wednesday, March 17, 2010

When Kelley Met Ghana: Day 2

Today was another power-packed day. We began the day by visiting SEND-Ghana, an NGO that focuses on poverty-related research. SEND-Ghana has the goal of using research as evidence when working with the government to improve the rights of Ghanaian citizens. This was a very imformative meeting and helped keep the needs and realities of the Ghanaian people a central focus of our trip.

After that, we visited Cummins-Ghana. Cummins is actually a company that makes and repairs engines in Columbus, Indiana. They are now becoming a major player in the Ghana market through partnerships. While there, we talked with an ex-patriot of England who has been working in Ghana for the last year. He discussed some of the strengths and weaknesses of the market here.

Among the other things of note today was our first trip to the market (the Kaneshie Market, to be exact)! What an experience! Everyone there was so niche. There were so many people selling so many kinds of things. The one we visited had lots of fabrics to choose from. Many of us purchased items there; scarves, clothing, and fabric to be created into clothing later.

Ghana's market really is dependent on the entrepreneurial spirit of it's people. For better or worse, everyone here is selling something. You name it, and it's sold on the streets of Ghana. On our way around town today we saw appliances, food, furniture, cell phones, goats, and coffins shaped like animals (this was an interesting story). View the pictures below to get an idea.

After a hearty lunch at the Abusua Restaurant, we made our final trek of the day to the Cocoa Marketing Board. There, we were greeted by many of the members of this highly influential group. This board is the governing body for EVERYTHING cocoa in Ghana. They are apart of the government and regulate cocoa's production, quality, and trade. Now, a little about cocoa; it is one of the leading exports in Ghana (along with gold and timber), it accounts for $1 billion of the country's GDP (or between 9-11%), Ghana is the second largest cocoa producer in the world.

As we were told there, Ghana is cocoa and cocoa is Ghana. That said, this was a very informative meeting. The knowledge they shared about the role cocoa plays in the economy and the ways it is monitored was eye-opening. This was also a good introduction into our trip tomorrow, where we will learn more about cocoa. Below is a little about what was learned in our time with them and throughout the day from Melissa and Kathryn (interviewed by Salima).

Now it is time to head off to sleep again.. Kind of. The students are going out tonight with some of the University of Ghana students we met last night to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. St. Paddy's in Accra - let the good times roll!

Today we saw purple shamrocks,
Kelley in Ghana 2010

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