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Let’s go to Ghana! - Day 12/13: Between school and the presidential palace

Students of the University of Potsdam report on their field trip in West Africa

Schriftzug an ein einer Schulwand
Gruppenfoto in einem Raum
Fassade des ehemaligen Präsidentenpalastes von Ghana
Pfau auf einem Sockel
Gruppenfoto auf einer Couch in einem Raum
Photo : Anne Krumrick
The motto of the AVIS school on the wall in the schoolyard.
Photo : Cora Damaschke
Some of the students in the staff room of the AVIS school.
Photo : Anne Krumrick
The façade of the former presidential palace of Ghana, which is now a museum.
Photo : Pia Muhlack
One of the many peacocks lounging in the shade of the trees in front of the Royal Palace.
Photo : Cora Damaschke
The students meet with an applicant for a Master's program for lunch.

Day 12: Insights into the culture

Today, for some of us, the day starts just like at home - at school. We are given a private tour of the Apple Valley International School (AVIS) in Kumasi. As it is currently the winter vacation, we don't meet any students, but the teachers make time for an interesting discussion. The school was  founded in 2021 and is still under construction. Both the classrooms and school buildings as well as the curriculum are constantly being expanded. As a highly regarded private school, it forms a clear contrast to the small school we had already visited in Odododiodioo. The international school accepts children from the age of two. In kindergarten, they mainly speak Asante Twi. Later, lessons are taught in English and French. The school year is divided into trimesters. The contact between teachers, children and their parents is very intensive and everyone is allowed to make suggestions for changes. We are very impressed by the many notes and pictures in the classrooms and on the walls, which are intended to motivate and strengthen the children. This is also reflected in the school motto "kindness, collaboration, curiosity" (see picture).

We then drive to the Ashanti Culture Center to learn more about Ghanaian culture. All the inhabitants of the Ashanti region are called Asante and belong to one of the seven different tribes. We can see the importance of family even in the typical construction of buildings, which are all built around a large common courtyard. The royal family always comes from the tribe of the eagle. In contrast to European royal families, succession to the throne is determined by the maternal bloodline. If the king dies, the king's mother may appoint another family member as king. Drums are used to communicate with the population as well as to scare off wild animals, which can be heard even over long distances. To top it all off, we drive to the royal palace. Due to strict security measures, we can only catch a brief glimpse of the new palace from a distance. Instead, we take part in a guided tour of the former palace, which is right next door. In front of the building, which is very simple for a royal palace, stands an imposing tree with several peacocks resting in its shade. The peaceful atmosphere almost makes us forget the piles of garbage and sparse human dwellings just outside the grounds.

Today's impressions again provide plenty to talk about over dinner, where we meet Charles again. With full bellies, we pack our bags and prepare for the return journey to Accra.

Day 13: Last stop

Straight after breakfast, we pack everything into our mini bus and set off for Accra, where our journey began almost two weeks ago. We stop for lunch in a small town about halfway along our route. Here we meet up with Gloria, a Ghanaian student who has applied for the "Climate, Earth, Water, Sustainability" Master's program at the University of Potsdam. During her research on our university website, she came across our travel diary and immediately contacted Prof. Wolf to arrange a meeting. We were proud to answer all her questions about the application process, finding accommodation and financing options. The second part of the long journey flies by. Arriving at our last accommodation, we enjoy a beautiful sunset with a view of the sea.