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The official language of Ghana is English, but there are several other languages sponsored by the government that are spoken in different regions, including Akan, Ewe, Ga, and Dagaaba. Ghana is considered an Emerging Economy and derives much of its economic output from production of cocoa and gold. Approximately 70% of Ghana’s population is Christian, with most of these belonging to various Pentecostal and Protestant denominations. Ghana is home to an LDS temple in the capital city of Accra and a relatively robust LDS population. About 17% of the population is Muslim, while another 10% practice traditional indigenous religions or no religion at all. The culture of Ghana especially manifests itself in clothing – the kente cloth is used to make a variety of clothing, with different colors and symbols having different meanings and being used for a variety of social and religious events. Azonto and Kpanlogo music are popular, as well as Hiplife (Ghanian hip-hop). Soccer is the country’s most popular sport, with the national team being one of the more successful teams from Africa in international play. The country has one of Africa’s best health systems, and a literacy rate of slightly above 70%. Cassava, millet, yam, corn, and beans are commonly eaten foods in the country, and most meals are served with stews or soups that use a wide variety of meat, seafood, or vegetables. Red Red (bean stew and fried plantains) and meat kebabs are also popular.
Since Ghana opened up in 1978 the church has been growing steadily and gaining momentum. The second temple to be built in Africa is the Accra, Ghana Temple. The people of Ghana are very family focused and many have entered the waters of baptism through family referrals. The members are excited about missionary work and willing to share the gospel when motivated. Ghana is home to four missions.One of the focuses of this mission is reactivity due to the high number of inactive members.
Due to the welcoming nature of Ghanaian culture most people are extremely receptive to messages from the missionaries about Christ. The church is relatively young in Ghana and as a result church members and leaders are relatively young. The demand for experienced members with strong roots in the gospel is high. Missionaries claim that because the church is so new to Ghana the members hold in high regard the importance of missionary work.
You can expect several meals a week consisting of rice, beans and stew. It is a staple part of the Ghanaian diet to have a starch eaten with a soup or stew. Most Ghanaian soups are prepared with vegetables, poultry, meat or fish.
Most stews are made by frying onion, adding tomato paste and then putting in whatever vegetables or meats the cook desires. Fufu is a very common food in Ghana. It consist of boiled cassava root and plantains pounded and mashed together. One then eats it piece by piece after dipping it into a soup.
The Ghana Accra mission is a biking mission. Depending on the size of a missionary’s area or the distance to cover, traveling by vehicle is a viable option.
Most main streets and roads are paved in Ghana. During the dry season it is common to find some streets covered in dust or sand. City transportation consist of a limited amount of government busses that run specific routes. Most Ghanaians travel by trotro; a twelve passenger van that usually runs specific routes. If one has heavy luggage to carry usually taxis are a more expensive yet more convenient option.
The biggest concern to residents of Ghana is the mosquitos. It is common for missionaries to contract malaria. A daily malaria antibiotic provided by the mission has caused the threat of serious injury from malaria to be almost nonexistent, but contracting it can result in being bedridden for several days. Mosquito repellant is rare in Ghana, most Missionaries sleep with mosquito nets.
Extreme violence is not common in Ghana. Most crime comprises petty theft and break-ins. The Church recommends that you do not resist any attempts at theft to avoid injury. most Ghanaians greatly respect the missionaries and even look out for them to a degree. The culture in Ghana deeply frowns upon theft and there are cases when thieves have been publicly beaten.
Respect is held in high regard in Ghana. Make sure to defer to your elders in age and to show proper respect. It is encouraged to wash hands before and after meals. Greetings are very important and refusing or forgetting to greet someone is another way of saying you don’t care about them.
It is also customary to do most all interaction with the right hand. Pointing or even motioning with the left hand can appear rude. When men where the traditional cloth they throw the fabric over the left hand as if to cover it. Most Ghanaians are understanding of missionaries’ left hand use but public embarrassment can be avoided knowing this custom.
Using cultural lingo can win the locals’ hearts and increase their opinion of you and trust in you. Here are some common terms worth learning.
Please – Mepaokyew
Welcome – Akwaabe
Thank You – Medaase
Farewell – Nantee-yie
Good Morning – Maakye
Good Night – Da-Yie
The temperature is generally warm being that Ghana is so close to the equator. Most missionaries do not use their suit coats except for special circumstances.
There is not much of a local dairy industry in Ghana so get used to processed milk. Due to the unique process it goes through shelf life is about six to nine months and the taste is a little different.
Shipping to Ghana:
Some people have suggested that you fill out a customs form at the post office and then tell the clerk that you want both to send your material by confirmation mail and to insure your item. Without this items may be stolen. Some items shipped may not arrive in Ghana. Ask the mission president for more details.
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