Sunday, June 13, 2010

Last Day in Ghana

I write this entry from Ghana’s major airport, located on the outskirts of the capitol city. We’re waiting for our flight back to Amsterdam, where some of us will stay and relax for a few days, but others will continue on to the United States.

We spent the day seeing a few last sights and driving about the city for one last look at the environment here. I made it to Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, which was very much worth the visit and made me want to read some of the late Doctor’s work when I return home on Wednesday.

I feel completely recovered from the dehydration, but am burnt out on the country. Being in the touristy part of the city today meant dealing with hawkers swarming the bus and pressuring us into buying various wares and that gets tiring very, very quickly. We’ve seen so many things and had almost no time to process any of it. My brain is very, very wrinkled. Writing here and in my paper journal has really been my only respite, and towards the end of the trip, that just wasn’t enough of an escape anymore. I’m very much looking forward to a few days of low-key exploration around Amsterdam.

The trip has answered many questions for me about my future and the study of international relations in general. However, it’s simultaneously provided so many more to answer. I’m going to spend so much of my free time this summer trying to come up with solutions. What is development? How can I morally justify coming from New York to Africa to tell the locals how things should be done? Is there a workable solution to the intense problem of global income disparity, or is this an inherent feature of global capitalism? What can I do in order to help in a way that’s wanted and needed?

Global health is very much without moral qualms – curing malaria wouldn’t be frowned upon by anyone. Development is different. Development insists there is a right way and a wrong way. How has modern development evolved beyond the White Man’s Burden? Am I justified in my desire to help? Should I care about the philosophical side of development at all, or just start building more libraries or getting militias to disarm? It seems to me that can’t possibly be a bad thing to do by anyone’s standards.

Very many more questions are floating about in my head as I wait for our KLM flight to board. This won’t be my last post here. I’m sure I’ll have some adventures to share in Amsterdam, as well as more reflective pieces like this one. Let me just say thank you to everyone who followed along on my journey as I explored Ghana. It’s been a truly incredible experience, and I hope I was able to bring a bit of it home to all my friends and family.


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