I was recently telling a friend about our brave, tiny outdoor cats who run up trees and sneak out the bamboo fence, and how no one seemed concerned about their wanderings. My friend remarked that “no one seems concerned” would be a good title for a blog about cross cultural communication (her field). Or anthropology, I offered.
So, in no particular order, here are some things I’m currently concerned about that have to do broadly with my field of study (Ghana, development, agriculture):
- Mediocre “development interventions” like these backpacks made out of re-used fertilizer bags or these “fortified” peanut butter bars by Hershey’s that are packed with sugar and other additives. Both projects seek to benefit a company (Yara or Hershey’s) by either getting kids to form habits (desiring and/or consuming candy) or appealing to their parents. This is not new in Ghana by any means; DuPont vis-a-vis 4-H gives out free hybrid corn seeds to Ghanaian school garden clubs in hopes that parents will be convinced to switch to hybrid seeds. Students of development and corporate social responsibility take note.
- Signs around Accra that are adorned with american flags and offer assistance getting rid of (Ghanaian) “your bad accent” or learning “U.S. slangs.” Or advertisements like one my friend heard on the radio that offered “American quality with Chinese prices.” All these examples indicate markers for bad/good, desirable/undesirable.
- It’s hot. Like, really hot. Accra hasn’t had good rain since the deadly June 4th floods last year. Boreholes are drying up and any rain-fed agriculturalist is out of luck. So that’s most farmers in Ghana. The rains, and/or massive, public irrigation works, need to come, and fast.