And the lesson is self-determination… Ghana this day.
Father Bobi, a proud Ghanain, is big about family as he preaches his message at the pulpit in North Berwick, east of Edinburgh.
And he begins March 6 with a shout-out to his West African country and his sister who shares her birthday with the national day.
This day in 1957 the British colony Gold Coast became Ghana (strong warrior king), the first sub-Saharan state to break free.
We’re naturally drawn here to countries asserting their own self-determination.
And celebrating with carnivals and parades.
In Ghana that’ll be from the capital of Accra on the scenic coastline of the Gulf of Guinea to the northern heritage-rich city of Tamale.
Local foods, such as the Ghanaian joll of rice (a spicy rice dish with meat and vegetables), serve as centrepieces in many homes.
The Ghanaian diaspora
Ghanaians have increasingly enriched our lives across the world.
From pulpits in Scottish seaside to metropolises London and Paris to the Caribbean.
Where the descendants of slaves have progressed their culture.
African tourism has, of course, expanded in the last thirty years.
With intrepid travellers seeking out still authentic parts of the world.
And for us students of history we will always explore the history and culture of a country.
Which in Ghana means seeking out the slave castles dotted along the coast.
Slavery history is not mawkish and we are in fact encouraged to keep their history alive.
It is our history too whether in Scotland where the tobacco lords became rich and the triangular traffic from Bristol and Liverpool.
Or in Tobago and Barbados, the only foreign outpost George Washington visited.
And in the city he gave his name to and the Great Liberator Frederick Douglass and his house looking down on the city.
And the inspiring African-American Smithsonian Museum in DC.
Then there is the Slave Haven Underground Railroad in Memphis Tennessee in the Deep South.
A trip to West Africa has long been on the radar to square the circle.
And reflect on the Original Sin shame of slavery.
One Ghanaian in particular will be flying his flag high today in my new town of North Berwick here in Scotland.
While millions there and around the world will join him too.
Should you be an intrepid traveller too you’ll naturally levitate towards the holiday firm of that name.
Intrepid will provide tailor-made trips.
From the horse’s mouth
Often our interest in a country or region is piqued by word of mouth, from friends and family.
I can’t say I know Rick from Intrepid’s site.
But I am persuaded by his review of Benin, Togo and Ghana from 2020.
‘Usually I travel independently, but for destinations in which infrastructure challenges make solo travel prohibitively inefficient.
‘Intrepid is worth every penny for combining easy of travel with the very best of cultural educational opportunity.
‘Superb pre-trip information, guides, and selection of destinations.’
Thanks Rick, and I’ll also be having a word in Father Bobi’s ear.
My cup of tea
Over tea and biscuits which he has restored to the church hall.
Two years after he had to pull that post-Mass experience because of Covid.
Happy Ghana Day Father Bobi and all the Ghanaians.
Ghana this day.