Ian Utley studied at the University of Wales and trained as a teacher at Bishop Grosseteste University College, Lincoln. He worked in education in Ghana for many years, published a book for learners of the Twi language, was a columnist for the Ghanaian newspaper Weekend World, and was an advisor to the Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Relations in Accra. He also organized cultural, ecotourism, and language-learning activities for foreigners. Now back in Britain, he is the Cultural Services Advisor to Lincolnshire County Council.
Challenge the current paradigm of “development” being something which only the Western world can bestow upon Ghana, and never the other way around. On the contrary; Ghanaians, despite being poorer in dollar terms, are a special people, rich in other ways, who have valuable lessons to teach to the outside world. Does Ghana need foreign aid or do foreigners need aid from Ghana? I have learned more about respect, personal relationships, spirituality, healthy-living, the raising of children, the care of the elderly, peacekeeping, and sense of community from a few years in Ghana than I did from decades in Europe.
“Death by jubilation”, not by civil war or military coup, is far more likely in this most peaceful, friendly and soccer-mad country, anytime the Blackstars win, and ecstatic fans dance out of bars and homes while drivers careen wildly with one hand blowing the horn and the other waving a Ghana flag. I attempted it during Africa Cup of Nations tournament 2008: thirty of us, bedecked in red, gold and green, armed with drums, trumpets, a bonfire in a calabash and gallons of palm wine, sat on top of a whole palm tree on the back of a pick-up. Only one person fell off.