Two different cultures, two different ‘worlds’

A market scene in Frankfurt, Germany

…comparing Ghana and Germany

As I stepped off from the airplane, I felt I was out of a cold shower. The weather was exactly warm like I expected it to be.

My experience as a volunteer in Ghana had been activated.

I left the airport with my luggage and approached the vehicle which was supposed to bring me to where I would be living for the next four weeks.

On my way from the airport, I realized I was totally in a different country as I saw cars that would under normal circumstances not get permit to be used on a German street.

I also noticed that most people did not adhere to the traffic regulations and that makes it dangerous in contrast to how traffic rules are strictly obeyed in Germany.

While I can take my drinking water out of the tap in Germany with little worries, I am told to be extra careful doing that here in Ghana as possibilities of consuming impurities are high.

The next day after my arrival, I visited some markets in the company of my host and other colleague volunteers. In the market, I saw waste being dumped on the ground with inadequate waste bins to contain them.

In Germany there is a strict trash separating system as there are bins everywhere on the streets especially at vantage points.

It is forbidden to throw waste on the streets in Germany something at the streets in Germany. The situation is completely different here.

The different odours from corners in the market mixed up. In Germany, street markets are very rare. There are shops in air-conditioned malls.

Yet in Ghana, one can buy literally everything on the streets in the market and I find that very amusing and fascinating.

For instance, one can buy raw meat and fish on the streets. That would never be possible in Germany as there are strict regulations about foodstuffs. Meat has to be always frozen, otherwise, one is not allowed to sell it.

Another ‘shock’ perhaps for me is the trotro. Not because it is not an ideal means of transportation, but because it has no schedules attached to it.

In Germany there are schedules with the arriving time for buses. Buses in Germany are very huge and the passenger have to pay before boarding.  But in Ghana, you board ‘trotro and sometimes pay when you are about to get to the destination with the conductor reminding passengers of the bus stops on the journey. That situation also delays the journey as there may be frequent stops on the way.

In Germany, one have to pay for the transportation before one enters. Transport fares in Ghana are relatively cheap when comparing it to the value of Euro which is used in my homeland.

I always thought we have many traffic jams in Germany but I know it better now. When I take the Trotro here it takes me much more time to reach my destination compared to my homeland.

For me as a person that grew up in Europe, the traffic here is an absolutely nightmare. I have my driving license and I drive a car in Germany daily but I don’t have the courage to drive a car here in Ghana.

I saw slums here for the fist time. What really shocked me is how many people live together in one place and in which environments they are living.

In Germany religion is not a big topic for most people. Most Germans only visit churches on Christmas day. In Ghana, I noticed many posters advertising churches and their programmes. I definitely want to visit a church service here.

The most amazing thing I did here so far was to watch a football match.  It was so much more entertaining than it is in Germany. I was excited to see people clapped, screamed and jumped off their chairs. Germans are serious about football too, but the energy and excitement here is great even if the game does not involve Ghana or a club from Ghana.

A Ghanaian market scene

Honestly, the food here is quite delicious and much more spiced. Back in Germany we traditionally cook a lot of meat and less legumes. Personally, I have to admit that I like the food here in Ghana.

What I like the most here is that people interact with each other a lot. When I go down the streets people talk to me and sometimes want to touch me. Children as well try hugging me a couple of times.

It was strange to me initially because in my home country people often say nothing to each other at all. They rarely even smile to one another but I really like this kind of communication in Ghana.

By Lisa Marie Wala

The writer is an intern with Goldstreet Business