Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day before departure to Africa

In the past few days I had the opportunity to take part in some training that prepared me for my trip to Ghana, Africa.
In the beginning I thought the training was to advise of logistics, such as hotel accommodations, flight information, etc. The program however focused on two components, understanding the culture of Ghanaians and our role as coaches to the credit unions we will be visiting.  
I didn't question why we were going to spend two days on cultural understanding however at first I didn't see it's true relevance. 
The training was so valuable as it opened my eyes to how are Canadian culture and beliefs are so different from the Ghanaians. When visiting a foreign place we have these stereotype opinions prior to departure. I am sure if I posed the question "what is your vision of Africa"? Most people would answer poverty, safaris, political unrest, gender inequality, and maybe crime. Over the last few days i learned so much about this wonderful country, and the importance to visit it and cast your own opinion. In a wonderful discussion with a ghanian, Issac who was here on exchange he described the area in which we are going to visit and a smile immediately developed on my face. The people were described much the same as Newfoundlanders. Warm, helpful, pleasant, happy, friendly, hard working, innovative, with a strong tolerance for stress was some of the words that were used. I guess the message I would like to leave people and one that certainly will be enforced as my experience grows is to not make pre-judgements of people. Judgements of people are like any unknown experience. We all have opinions on vehicles we haven't driven, places we have not visited, or even characters we have not met. Our opinion is driven by media and social perception. We are consumed about discovering information prior to making a purchase or a decision, however sometimes we rely to much on our research which can be skewed. The true opinion is only available through experience. Unfortunately we make decisions based on research which potentially can present barriers and experience is then lost. If the fear I felt prior to me volunteering to take part in this program transpired, who knows if the credit unions in this country would have benefited from my knowledge transfer. Failure to act is defeat, and the good of actions are never realized. 


Sherry K said...

You will absolutely love Africa. I am so envious. My sister and I always talk about going back there but so far we haven't had the opportunity. Your blog will give me the chance to live vicariously through you. Great way to share your experience!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on taking this journey Cory! I am sure it will be a life changing experience.

I am looking forward to following you in this blog.