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Exploring Diverse Cultures in Ghana
By Kyra F., YES Abroad 2016-2017, Ghana
I never imagined that a country the size of Oregon could have so many regional cultural differences. My fellow exchange students and I discovered this recently when we went on a study tour to the north of Ghana, which is really different from the central region where I live. Between the weather, language, and overall atmosphere – it seemed like a completely different country!
We started the trip from what I now like to call my home, Kumasi. Bringing my fellow exchange students to a restaurant and introducing them to one of my closest school friends was so rewarding. I felt like I was in my actual hometown as I explained where I go to school, what my days are like, and all sorts of other things. Then we went to Manshia Palace, which was quite the learning experience; visited a nice bead market to get souvenirs; and, of course, ate an obligatory bowl of fufu with groundnut soup.
Then we started to make our way north; our first stop was Kintampo Falls. Coming to these falls was a completely different experience than going to other falls, because Kintampo has way more locals than tourists. Then, the following morning, we saw elephants. Elephants! We were at Mole National Park, which was fantastic. I never thought I would be able to get as close to wild elephants as I did that day. It was especially nice to learn about how much land Mole National Park covers and its accomplishments in protecting the elephant species. We were also able to visit the Larabanga Mosque, which was so interesting to visit and to learn about.
But I think our full day in Dalun was the most enjoyable. We started the day off meeting the chief, who was so welcoming and made the whole visit really pleasant and relaxed. Then we were off to the shea butter processing village. We learned the excruciatingly long process of making shea butter and were helped hand-in-hand along the way by some of the adorable local children.
To summarize the trip in one word: unforgettable. I can already tell that I will be forever grateful for my opportunity to go on this trip and experience another corner of this beautiful country.