Eleven people from Brock were in Ghana last month as part of the new reading week program of the Office of International Services.
The Reading Week International ABC Program provided students and staff with academic learning, an introduction to business and insight into the culture of the African country.
Students participated in seminars at the University of Ghana, Legon. Seminar topics included the African Union and the history, politics, fine arts and social justice issues of Ghana. They also attended a seminar on the World University Service of Canada’s involvement in Ghana, and opportunities for short and long-term volunteering and internships.
The group learned more about business by visiting the state-of-the-art facilities of the Cocoa Processing Company of Ghana. Cocoa is Ghana’s second largest export after gold. Students then visited a village to see cocoa farming, and a cottage industry producing palm oil. A local chief and village elders greeted them.
The students met with Albert Essien, executive director and regional head of Ecobank Ghana, one of the largest banks in West Africa. They spoke with Essien and department heads to learn more about Ecobank’s role and operations in West Africa and South Africa. They also discussed banking regulations in light of the recent world financial crisis.
The cultural experience included trips to museums of natural history and ethnography, the Kwame Nkrumah mauseoleum in Accra and the West African Heritage Museum in Cape Coast. They also visited the museums of Manhiya Palace, Prempeh II and the Okomfo Anokye Sword in Kumasi.
The slave trade plays an important part in Ghana’s history, they learned. The group went on a comprehensive tour of Cape Coast Castle, the Slave Dungeons and the Negotiation Hall where slaves were bargained for and sold.
“The Ghanaian people were very nice and I enjoyed visiting the University of Ghana and meeting students that had studied at Brock,” student Rina Yasako said. “The trip was different from sightseeing tours because we had the opportunities to visit many businesses such as the Ecobank, Cocoa Processing Company and the Palm Oil cottage industry. I’d like to return to Ghana one day.”