Friday, 25 July 2014

Africa in Northern Canada

By Douglas Baba, 2nd year MDP student

Douglas (L) & fellow MDP student Naomi Gichungu (R)

My Canadian field placement took me to a town in Northern Canada which is a popular international tourist destination called Churchill. Generally, the ways of living in western societies is far different from Africa where I hail from - the communal versus the individualistic way of life. 

Fort Churchill Cairn
Churchill started as a  trading post in the 1700s and the fort in the town will remind every Ghanaian who visits of the numerous forts and castles dotted along the coast of Ghana from as far back as the 15th Century when the various European powers started arriving in Africa. The historical nature of Churchill and as a polar bear and beluga whale centre of the world makes it a very attractive place to visit. However, not many Canadians can afford to visit there due to the expensive nature of airfare which is pretty much the same fare as going to Ghana or any other African country from Canada. 

My five day stay there gave me the sense of feeling that I was in a typical African community or town where  everyone knows each other, the friendly and smiling nature of the people, and exchanging greetings. Shockingly, I also saws children selling fruit drinks on the street which I was compelled to buy some not for the taste of it necessarily but for the feeling of showing that I was in Ghana buying roasted corn or plantain from children in the street.  At the health centre, I unimaginably saw some children giving way for an adult man to pass before they entered the door. This is a typical way of how African children show respect for the aged and the elderly in the society.

At the hotel where I slept, the owner, John was so nice that we would sit together in his dining room to have breakfast together and in one morning I accidentally spilled corn flakes on the floor, he jokingly said "Douglas you will have to pay $3 dollars." The memories of this trip to Churchill and the opportunities the MDP field placement has created for me will continue to linger forever.

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