Friday, June 29, 2007

Views of the U.S.

I have to admit that we haven't run across too many Ghanaians who are particularly in love with the United States--or at least its government. Not many have had problems with Americans themselves, but when we start asking locals' opinions on the U.S. in general, they don't mince words on what they think of the U.S.'s foreign policy, domestic politics, or economic decisions.

Last night we went out to dinner with two Duke friends and their friend, a young Ghanaian man in his late 20s/early 30s. Somehow we began discussing U.S.'s international aid for Africa--a point that we thought would be a positive check mark for the U.S., but instead turned into tirade by our new friend about how the U.S. was using its money to control the world. I, and most of the rest of us, disagreed vehemently with many of his points, but either way, it's disconcerting to me that the U.S. has assumed the role of some greedy, capitalist demon in the eyes of many of Ghana's educated youth. One of our friend's host mothers casually asked over dinner: "Do you think the U.S. is going to colonize Ghana like it did Iraq?" (no sarcasm, I was told)
Last night Stesha and I met a computer programmer who studied at Princeton about 10 years ago. Despite the fact that he received his education in the U.S., he similarly had harsh words for everything from the U.S.'s health care policy to the U.S.'s decisions of where to import resources.

Even though the average person in the U.S. knows little about Ghana, the young and educated here have been surprisingly fluent in U.S. politics--more so than quite a few young and educated people I know. I'm not necessarily trying to make a point, but it's at least something to think about.

In other news: Stesha's back to good health, and we've gotten back into the thick of our project. We want to do a final component, something tangible to improve some of the problems we've come across, and we're beginning to brainstorm what that might look like.

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