Christian Sackey-Acquah, star writer on the staff, shares a slice of his Ghana with you.
THE GHANAIAN EXPERIENCE
I am often not perturbed by the inconveniences associated with living in the capital. It is a regular and a familiar experience such that its absence sometimes leaves me craving for it, as though it takes away the ‘Africanness’ in my daily experience. Oh! lest I forget, I am writing this from the ‘comfort’ of a rickety ‘trotro’ (a name given to our most popular means of transport) halfway sandwiched between my father and a young man whom since the onset of our journey has been eating different kinds of snacks, that wouldn’t have been a bother except for the crumbs that keep dropping on me. It is a busy morning, cars honking, drivers yelling at each other, others sneaking their ways out of the ‘main road’ just to beat the traffic jam. And my greatest source of distraction? The sound from the radio of the trotro – almost deafening. But through all these I have to tell this story, a true account of my experience, right from the heart of the city of Accra, the capital of the Republic of Ghana.
My country like any other cannot boast of a ‘perfect’ life for its citizenry. There is the beautiful side of the story and of course the regrettable and dreaded side of it, but in all, what matters is our collective effort to build on our strengths and to kick away the ‘part’ of us that continue to tarnish our image especially on the international front. Ghana continues to enjoy lasting peace borne out of a relatively unified populace with a committed attempt to coexist despite the diversity that exists in its cultural landscape. I am mostly proud to be a Ghanaian because of the richness of our culture, a culture that places a lot of importance on unity, a sense of community and equality.
THE SCIENCE FACTOR AND WHY SOMETHING MUST BE DONE
Growing up, I was a high spirited lad who was very optimistic about the future. I entertained the idea of becoming a pilot at a very young age and remained resolute on this decision until it was ‘crashed’ by my fear for science later in high school. Looking back (almost regrettably), I am convinced that my fear for science was fuelled by several factors of which ‘society’ played a major role. Society continues to project science as a ‘tough’ subject reserved for the few bright ones in school. That is what my teachers taught us: “You know what? Science is difficult and only the very intelligent ones can pursue it”. Indeed it is sad but that is the perception out there and it has and continues to kill so many dreams.
The second culprit is Government. Heretofore, there has been little or no conscious effort on the part of Government to make science attractive for the young ones. Government basic schools lack the necessary materials that could boost the practicability of science in the classroom, hence making teaching and learning science a headache for both teachers and students. Science is built on observation and obviously the absence of some of these materials kill the fun that come with it. Admittedly, the challenge of the system is our inability to perceive science and technology as a viable avenue in the academic discourse that could turn the fortunes of our country around.
There are so many children who love science but continue to wallow in the fear of it. We can save the future of this country by first saving the interest that these young ones have for science. A country that values science and technology is often rewarded by great development powered by a progressive economy whose foundation is built on industrialisation. This is why something must be done!