Technology. Intended to make our lives easier, better, and more enjoyable. Right? Eighteen days spent in Ghana and my belief is, no.
A phone means more than just calling in today’s world. You can search up absolutely anything in almost any place in the world (if you have service). But unlimited access and knowledge of everything is hard to fathom. My nephew, who can barely tie his shoes, has access to every piece of knowledge ever formulated into code and shared onto the digital world. That’s scary.
My mother, who came into America in the 80s from a third world with little to no form of technology, told me how extensive school was for her. She shared to me that writing an essay was an event. She had to go to the library and read books before she could even begin writing—which was on paper. Take a minute to think how much that must have sucked. We of course have digital tools that can gather information for us and we can use that to put together an essay within hours. You didn’t have to commit your entire day or days to it. Now we can skim over to the local Starbucks, grab a Grande Vanilla Bean Frappe (easy on the whip), sit outside in the patio area, and if you choose to do so write your essay on your phone. I tried explaining this to my mother. She’s still trying to learn how to text.
Technology here in Ghana is a bit different than being in America. Everyone has a cell phone. It may not be the latest iPhone 6, but people are constantly talking on the phone. The biggest shock and something I’ll never get used to is the driving. Ghanaians drive like mad men. I realized that if I was forced to take the wheel to drive to the hospital in order to save a fellow student in the house, we’d be better off losing one than the both of us. I’ve tried so desperately to analyze some sort of system that everyone uses here to get around. I don’t understand it. Regardless of the maniacs that take the streets every day, I have noticed one similarity among the taxi drivers and watching drivers that we pass by. People don’t text. Obviously driving while texting is an idiot decision, but no one walks around and texts either. Perhaps its something taboo or just plain genius with how reckless everyone drives around here. You have to have your head on a swivel.
Americans have it pretty easy. We have cars that have 180-degree impact cushions upon impact and crumple zones that absorb most of the damage. Texting seems such a small problem when you’re stuck on the 5 freeway waiting to just move a few inches closer to your next exit. Maybe we just need a bit of fear implemented into our driving. The cars here in Ghana aren’t the latest 2016 models and the nice cars can be found based on the majority of the original paint. If you get into a head-on collision here, you’re heading through the window or, if you’re lucky, the other guy is breaking some of your impact.
I just think if Americans realized the terrifying roads of Accra, then they might put down their phones for just a few more minutes and focus on getting to where they need to be. No selfie is worth tasting the car in front of you.