Well, looking into Africa is slightly intimidating. Watching news reports from the media, it’s all crazed gunfire, rapes, murders, and theft. I never hear anything good about them- until I speak with locals.
I hitched a ride from an army officer today on my way to work, and we got talking. Turns out, he was born and raised in Ghana, an African country on the west coast, one that is on my route. Coincidentally, his name was Samuel. I asked about advice and he says,
My people in Ghana are so very kind. They will try to help you as much as they can. Of course, there are bad people too, but mostly from northern Nigeria who are using Ghana to transport drugs and different things. But the people of Ghana are good people. You don’t have to worry about that place.
This eased several of my fears, for which I am grateful. He mentioned some cultural differences such as bargaining and accepting help as a white man:
Never pay the price that they first ask of you. You must always bargain. For example, if they say, “This is 10 dollars,” you must ask to pay two instead. Many white people who come pay the full price because all the people of Ghana think that they are rich. All white people are rich, this is what they think. And if someone offers to help you, since you are white, they will expect some sort of compensation. But they will not be upset, or rage, if you do not pay them. So, if what we are doing now, taking you someplace, in Ghana the person driving will expect you to give him a gift. But it is okay if you do not, they won’t get angry.
Thank you Samuel, for explaining some of Ghana’s cultural aspects and for easing some of my fears. Speaking with him made me feel a little more confident in making my way to South Africa.