Monday, November 2, 2009

Mash-Up


So, today I biked down the road to Goka, a slightly larger town than Asiri with a much better market. The moringa project (which I haven't written about in months, but it's going well) has spilled over into some of the surrounding towns, and I'm in Goka pretty regularly to touch base with people there. I dropped in at the school to greet some of the teachers and students who I'm friendly with (that's the Junior Secondary School Form 3 class), and since their English master wasn't around I stayed to teach a reading comprehension class. The topic of the reading comprehension essay they were working through, straight off page 14 in their textbook: The history of communism. A sample dialogue from class:

SAM: "Okay, do you have any questions about the sentence that Kwabena just
read?"
KWAME: [raises hand] "Sir."
SAM: "Yes, Kwame?"
KWAME: [stands up] "Sir, what is 'class system'?"
SAM: [sighs] "Uh...okay...you know how the King of the Ashantis is very,
very rich, but some people are very poor..."


And that's my day, busting down the road through the bush to try and find some relevant way of explaining to African kids what Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels ("two German friends" in my version) could possibly mean to them. Ghana, a complicated place that is essentially built out of random pieces of colonial geographic heritage, is a mash-up of African culture, growing economic integration with the developed world, and a lot of hopeful imitation of institutions and practices from the U.S. and Europe. The mix of information and focus here is sometimes bizarre.

No comments: