I have been in Ghana for 2 months now. It has been hot and dry but in the last two weeks it seems like the Harmattan season is getting to an end with frequent rainfalls, especially in the afternoons. Despite the heat and all other challenges I have been encountering, considering that I am in Africa, I think Ghana has been treating me well. I was sick the second week but after being offered some ginger tea and a coughing syrup, I got better. Right now, I am in Kumasi and this is my base. I have travelled to many small towns in the Ashanti Region, Brong Ahafo Region and the Eastern Regions. In these regions, I have been to Kenyasi 1, Gyedu, Obuasi Municipality, Anwiam, Anyankyrem, Abompekrom, Amamom, Akatachieso, and Nyankyireni, which are communities that are directly affected by the Anglo Gold Ashanti and Newmont Ahafo mining companies`activities. Of course, I have been to Accra in many occasions, both for work and leisure.

Living in Kumasi
In general, I would argue that Ghana is a friendly nation. Apart from that, I also think that the level of security, at least compared to other African countries, like Kenya or South Africa, is high. In Kumasi especially, there are Police posts in many corners of the street and they are very visible. In the area I live, Asokwa, there is actually a Police barrier in the night and I have met two patrol officers on scooters in the night hours. However, when I asked if this was a common scene in many of the estates (residential areas) in Kumasi, I was told that it is not the same everywhere. I then asked if there are important people living in the area. I was informed that there is a high level police inspector living around and also my house is about 1 km to the local Assembly man`s home.

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Figure 1: A common residential building in Asokwa, Kumasi Photo by Sam A. Kasimba 2016

More so, in this area, there are local volunteers (neighborhood watch) who patrol around in the night to secure the residents. They are mostly local boys and some weeks ago, they caught a thief. Even though I felt sorry for the man, as he had been severely beaten, swollen face, horrible seen, many people did not feel sorry for him. They thought he should have been beaten more to set an example to others attempting such petty crimes. Apparently, the man was caught attempting to steal a car battery. I asked where the battery was and I was told he didn’t take it, yet. In other words, he was caught, beaten, exhibited around the area so people can see that the volunteers are doing a good job. They then get small payments from the residents (lost meaning of volunteer). The poor man was taken to the police without evidence and in terrible pain. By his grace (referring to God), like Ghanaians say, I hope he is well and got a fair judgement

Religion and Church
One thing that has amazed me in Ghana is the number of Churches and how religion in general is a part of the peoples` everyday life. There are both Muslims and Christians and I observed that they do not really live together, most Muslims reside in Aswanse, Alaba, Anolga and Abwabo. In these areas, there are a number of informal foreign exchange agents. They walk around with large sums of money and exchanging to either foreign or local currency. In every corner of Kumasi city there is a church. Christian connotation is used in many enterprises, from hair salons, restaurants to schools. There are also Church posters in a number of billboards too.

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Figure 2: Mercy Ground International Church Poster Photo by Sam A. Kasimba 2016

However, I was intrigued by the name giving to business ventures. For instance, a fast food joint called “God is Our Redeemer Kitchen”, a tailor shop called “Glory Be To God Fashion”, see figure 3 and 4.

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Figure 3 and 4: Glory Be To God Fashion and God is Our Reedemer Kitchen Photo by Sam A. Kasimba 2016

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Figure 5: Abunabuno Soup and fufu Photo by Sam A. Kasimba 2016

I was for instance introduced to this very delicious local meal, abunabuno soup and fufu. The soup is a mixture of almost all sea foods available in Ghana and with fufu (plantain and cassava). They are put in a bowl and one has to dig with his/her hands. Sometimes a plate like this can be shared between two people. It is actually a very expensive dish. I was told, jokingly, that if you eat this, you don’t die. I however decided to skip this and most of the time I eat banku and tilapia. The local pubs in Ghana are known as “Spot”.

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Figure 6: A local Spot and my place “Nasarp Spot” in Asokwa Photo by Sam A. Kasimba 2016

Usually they are on the road sides, open from around 1200 pm and the music is very loud. They serve different kinds of drinks. My favourite is the local Ghanaian beer, Club. Most of the spots do not have space, so people usually seat by the roadside, especially in the evening when the traffic is low. In these pubs there are also people making food (local dishes) and sell to the hungry ravellers.

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Figure 7: A young man roasting meat and sauseges in front of a spot Photo by Sam A. Kasimba 2016

By Sam A. Kasimba, PhD Candidate