The Road Ahead

The Road Ahead

The past days I have seen a lot of road. Or a lot of no road. Or something between a road and no road.

From bad stretches between Tamale and Wa which caused the bus to tilt about 25 degrees, caused baggage racks to bounce vigorously above our heads and ultimately resulting in me arriving covered in the red Ghanaian dust – to smoothly cruising away on a new road from Kumasi in the front seat, next to the driver, of a colourful air conditioned bus, with a Nigerian film playing in the background and no idea where I would be dropped off exactly to continue the rest of my journey.

Everything is diverse. The roads, the landscapes, the people, the living standards. I have noticed something somewhat contradictory. On the one hand you see all these little (work) shops everywhere where people are able to build almost anything out of recycled car parts or discarded mobile phones etc. On the other hand I learned that children in schools don’t get any hands-on projects to do. Everything is learned from books and kept very theoretically.

A book has the facts that are important and that is that. Because of being used to this, I have heard that in general very little motivation exists among students to actually challenge established knowledge, strive for new concepts and simply think experimental. To me this is interesting. As it seems that fundamentally traditionally everything here is very much hands-on.

In villages teaching systems were and are defined by trial-and-error, by copying actions from your parents, grandparents or teachers and trying it for yourself. Every action has an application, whether spiritual, social or material.

 

Somehow it seems like hands-on experimentation got lost along the way in the schooling systems. But that it isn’t in the schooling system does not mean that it isn’t in the people.

Kids Shea 1

 

Kids learning by helping their mothers in shea butter production.
Girls learning by playing in their mothers’ shea butter production pots at unguarded moments.

 

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