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Canadians and Ghanaians – Kindred Spirits?

They may be a world apart, but Leigh is having no trouble finding similarities between Ghanaian and Canadian culture.

I’ve been living and working in Koforidua, Ghana for over two months. At this point and I have come to realize that this town is very similar to my hometown, Kingston, Ontario. Not too big, not too small—but somehow everyone still knows everyone’s business. I am thousands of kilometers from my partner, family and friends but I could not have asked for a more “homey” place (for lack of a better word) to live in.

As I slowly observed the similarities between Koforidua and Kingston I began to realize it’s not just the town that has made me feel comfortable, but the people living it. I have come to the conclusion that Ghanaians and Canadians are geographically different, however share so many similarities. There is a connection between Ghanaians and Canadians that is indescribable. They could be called kindred spirits even.

I have compiled a list where the two cultures share similarities. This may seem like a generalization, but think of it more of an observation I have found that has made my time in Africa not only enjoyable, but comfortable:

1. Ghanaians and Canadians are kind, compassionate and peaceful people.

2. Ghanaians and Canadians both enjoy a late night snack of street meat after the bar.

3. Are both attached to their one, two, or maybe even three cell phones. Texting is socially acceptable in any situation.

4. Both cultures share a deep passion for Celine Dion.

5. Ghana, like many parts of Canada, welcomes people of different ethnicities, religions and backgrounds with open arms.

6. Violence and conflict is never considered a solution to a problem.

7. Food is always a priority—it’s everywhere and anywhere.

8. Canadians and Ghanaians are both curious people. (Perhaps this is just a personal trait but still, very comforting to know my questions are not offside.)

9. Canadians and Ghanaians are family-oriented. Kids and parents, grandparents and parents, brothers and sisters are all heavily involved in each other’s daily activities relationships and overall lives.

10. They are both exceptional dancers! (Oh wait. No, that’s not right. . .)

Okay, so this list may not be extensive but these cultural resemblances have made me feel a connection to this country and its people in a way I never expected.

It’s not just about comfort and safety but about breaking down walls between two groups of people from very different backgrounds. We are all just global citizens trying to create a meaningful and sustainable life for ourselves. The people realize that the overall goals and intentions of people are the same; the easier it will be to look past race, religion, sexual orientation, class etc. Every individual on this earth is attached, one way or another. It’s up to you to make the connection.

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Published in Volunteer Abroad Blogs
Leigh Matassa

A small town girl from Kingston Ontario, Leigh has had a passion for travel for as long as she can remember. Her involvement in Social Justice led her to complete an undergrad in International Development and a post-grad in project management. Now, Leigh is in Ghana with Youth Challenge International working on entrepreneurship, sexual reproductive health and substance abuse with the Ghanaian youth.

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