“Wo ho tesse (How are you)?” Every time I walk the streets of Ghana, whether it be in the hospital, marketplace, or just a couple of footsteps outside of the Freeman Methodist Center, I would always be (almost overwhelmingly) greeted by other Ghanaian pedestrians. As an international student at Davidson College, I was at first surprised by the so-called “southern hospitality” in North Carolina. Yet, the hospitality and the warmth I felt in Ghana was taken to another level that I have never experienced before. People were willing to get to know me, not out of superficial generosity, but with a genuine intention of getting to know me better. These welcoming attitudes also helped me to know more about the Ghanaian culture and local life here at Kumasi. For instance, taxi drivers would explain various street roads that gave me a better sense of direction and how to navigate the roads in Kumasi. In fact, one of the taxi drivers I encountered, Tony, told me the names of streets along with the meaning behind these names of the streets. He also informed me that hospitality towards foreigners was deeply ingrained in Ghanaian culture, explaining why I received such warm greetings from the pedestrians and vendors. Experiences like these not only helped me to grasp a substantial understanding of Ghanaian culture but also facilitated a cultural immersion experience for me.
I believe it was not an accident or a coincidence that I have found my place in one of the fourteen Davidson students in Ghana. Looking ahead over the next six weeks, I would love to know more about Ghanaian culture and immerse myself into the local life here at Kumasi. I hope to see myself strolling the busy streets of Kumasi, reaching out to the locals instead of being reached out by making my greeting first: wo ho tesse?