There are parts of Ghana that have a National Geographic feel with round mud huts, roaming goats, and fields of maize tended by villagers wielding wooden hoes and machetes.
But the realities of life in northern Ghana don’t fit neatly into the stereotypical “rural Africa” box. Weaving among the donkey carts and bicycles are district chiefs driving to meetings and funerals in their SUVs. A closer look at those same bicycles reveals baskets packed full with cans of petrol, cell phone chargers and bottles of coca-cola. On the roadside, stalls selling Tupperware and neon flipflops jostle for space alongside those selling groundnuts and onions. Soccer jerseys and second-hand little league t-shirts are the dress of choice for teenage boys.
At first, I struggled to reconcile this seemingly disjoined clash of modern and traditional. However, I am starting to recognize and appreciate the harmony of new and old that is grounded in the practicality of everyday Ghanaian life.