Post written by Deepu, Juan, Teresa, and Emily (MIM team from Ghana) current Master in Management students
While some were soaking up the sun in glitzy Rio and others were living it up in Tel Aviv, Global immersion Experience found us bouncing around in the back of a rickety bus, traversing pothole ridden streets. Not the most comfortable of rides but our trip to Ghana would prove the most eye-opening adventure of our lives. An unknown culture, working with institutions that were unlike any we had ever studied, and to top it off an Ebola scare in West Africa, the place we had chosen to go.
What did we decide you ask? To Ghana we go!!!
Visiting the clients in the Accra slums proved to be different that we had anticipated, many were people that we couldn’t even begin to try to relate with. However, through talking to them and having interviews, we realized how useless our business jargon was, but that we just had to talk in a way that they would allow them to understand us, and us them. Imagine working with a client who doesn’t know basic costs, their loan interest rates, or how much they make per month.
An even more shocking experience was visiting the rural and poorest community of people of Ghana, the farmers and agricultural families. A new institution to analyze and another two hour bumpy bus ride away, we found a small village. When we arrived there, the people were very welcoming, and we saw just how different their community was. Many in this particular community are still living in mud huts, without electricity, and in a sense disconnected from society. As we arrived the people greeted us with big smiles, clapping, and dancing. We proceeded with introducing ourselves by our Ghanaian names, Adwoa, Abenaa, Kwaku, Yao.
Regardless of disconnect in culture, language, race, or education, they expressed so much gratefulness just to see our faces and were happy to show us their farms and their products, as well as their life. As well, the kids were ecstatic to see us and it was impossible to leave without an uplifted spirit. With this short visit we had to try to grasp all the information and experience to develop a plan to help our new friends. At the end we realized it was all about understanding and learning from the people, how they think. All in all, it was a really eye-opening experience to see just how deep Micro-Financing can really have an impact.
All work and no play? Now let’s be serious! In the end we also had time to chill, let go, and explore Ghana. We went to Kakum National Park to hike and discover the canopy walk, we enjoyed the beautiful beach of Ghana while drinking fresh coco’s, we tried new food and explored new ways of eating, and had an amazing last day complete with an adventure on a wooden boat to visit different island complete with crocodile hunters, rum makers, had a meal of freshly caught seafood complete with Ghanaian beer, and finally ended with a jet-ski ride where the river met the ocean. We ended blissfully sun-kissed and happy for our experiences before flying back to Istanbul then Madrid.