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Ghana – 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.
The LDS church in Ghana is steadily growing. Starting in 1969 a group of Christians started calling themselves Mormons and subscribed to the Book of Mormon and the teachings of the LDS church. It wasn’t until 1978 however that missionaries came to officiate ordinances for members and official congregations were organized. As of 2012, around 48,500 members were recorded in Ghana. Accra houses a Missionary Training Center and Ghana’s only temple.
People in Ghana eat a lot of various types of stew, often made with chicken or other meat. When eating the stew they often use Fufu, a type of starchy dough. They tear off a piece from the main lump of fufu and dip it into the stew. Ghanese food often involves eating with fingers. On the streets vendors sell other local favorites like plantain chips, yams, nuts and fish. 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.
In Ghana public buses are a major mode of transportation. There are also mini-buses called Tro-Tros that are available for transportation. The vehicle itself may only seat about ten people but usually the driver will squeeze in as many passengers as he or she can. Often a child will sit on the bus and shout out the upcoming stops and collect money from passengers. There are also a lot of motorbikes in the city.
A major safety concern in Ghana is the threat of Malaria via mosquitos. To combat the effects of Malaria, a daily antibiotic is given to the missionaries. Apart from that, Ghana isn’t known to be a particularly violent or dirty city and mission-handbook safety regulations should be followed at the discretion of the mission President.
Greetings are of high importance in Ghana. In fact, there is a customary handshake that missionaries learn from locals when they arrive. Most interpersonal exchanges take place with the right hand. The left is considered rude when used to make gestures or indications.
Twi, a popular Akan dialect – Woho te-sain (How are you?) Me ho ye. (I’m fine)
When mailing letters and packages to missionaries in Ghana, note that biological substances are not permitted, along with jewelry and precious metals. One ounce letters can be sent with a 98 cent postal stamp. A flat rate envelope, which contains up to 4 pounds of approved mail, can be sent from the post office starting at 45 dollars. Flat rate packages weighing up to 20 pounds start at 80 dollars.
Fourth Circular Rd. Coco Palm #1
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