First a brief explanation of the blog title. In 1957, Ghana was the first sub-Saharan African colony to achieve independence from its colonial power--U.K.--and has since established itself as a beacon of peace and democracy in an otherwise turbulent region. The national motto is "Freedom and Justice," and it is inscribed on Independence Arch in the Independence Square in Accra, Ghana commemorating the state's independence from the U.K. My use of the motto is strictly to express my interest and respect for the state of Ghana and its honorable history. I hope to learn more about its origins, and its meaning to the country's people :)
It is day two of many to come, taking anti-malarial pills, and thankfully, I am free of side effects. However, getting my hands on a six month supply was a process, but considering the alternative, well worth the effort. When I first picked up my prescription back in December I was only able to get 90 pills (1 pill/day) only covering me for about half of my anticipated time in Ghana. After I spoke with an insurance company representative, I learned that in order to get the other half of my prescription, I needed to get a letter from my Mom's employer assuring Priority Health that I would still be on the insurance in July 2012. Well, thank you, Mom! After some paperwork and organizational miscommunication, etc., I am adequately supplied with Atovaquone and Proguanil Hydrochloride (that name alone is enough to explain why I did not pursue hard sciences).
It is t-minus 50 minutes until I get in the air headed to Chicago O'Hare, but before I go, the following is a brief and general description of how I hope to spend my time in Ghana.
While in Ghana I plan to take four classes and conduct research through an independent study. Two of my classes are focused on political issues in Africa, and I am also enrolled in an international trade and finance economics class. Additionally, I intend to continue my French language studies in the classroom and to some extent, through my research in the community. I will be taking a French literature course focusing on post-colonial writers like Frantz Fanon and Leopold Senghor. Though its colonial heritage is British, Ghana has been heavily influenced by the historical French presence in West Africa, specifically its neighbor to the west, Cote d'Ivoire. In addition to my classroom studies, I intend to conduct research on the strains that are put on both local and national governments in their efforts to accommodate political refugees. Since the November 2010 presidential election in Cote d'Ivoire after which Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede power to democratically elected Alassane Ouattara, close to 20,000 refugees have flooded into Ghana to avoid the ensuing violence. Likely, my research will involve interviewing some of these refugees as well as local government workers, and it would be exciting to attempt parts in French.
More to come from Ghana.