You can never fully comprehend a different culture until you fully immerse yourself within that culture. Before the trip, I spent hours researching the country of Ghana, the people, and their culture. While reading articles and blog posts are informative, they don’t nearly compare to walking down the streets of Ghana and speaking with a 60-year-old man who has lived here his entire life. With the combination of excitement, nervousness, eagerness and willingness, I believe that I am ready for this trip.
The most interesting experience so far was visiting the Craft Market, which is a Ghanaian version of Saturday market in the United States. The vendors have a variety of items ranging from cloths, paintings, food, and sculptures. Though the people are very friendly, they are also very aggressive. Each vendor wants you to visit their stand and will physically grab your wrist and pull you to their stand. Not in a violent way, but in a please come and take a look at what I have to offer way. This was astonishing to me because in America you enter the shops at your own pace and the owners let you look around in peace. The Ghanaians are willing to bargain and give you the best offer as long as you don’t leave their shop and purchase items elsewhere.
I’m still getting accustomed to the bargaining process. They will offer you a ridiculous first price for an item, and internally you know that the item shouldn’t and doesn’t cost that much. In order to lower the price, you have to bargain with them and lower the price to something reasonable. I’ve learned that if they refuse to lower their price, pretend that you’re going to leave the shop and they will offer you the item for whatever price you’re willing to pay. This is how they make a living, so I understand the effort to attract customers. This truly changed my perspective on the work ethic of Ghanaians. I’m excited for the upcoming weeks!