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Ghana 2017



Chants of "three times one is three,” “three times two is six,” and “three times three is nine” fill the air and drift through the village during this open-air math class. The chalkboard leaning against a large shade tree provides the lesson. Being outdoors is an interesting—though potentially distracting—alternative to a hot and crowded classroom.
– Mary Crave ©2009

Republic of Ghana
Western Africa

Area 239K km²

Population 26.3M (110/km²)

Gov’t Constitutional Democracy

Capital Accra (2.3M)

GCP/capita $4,300

Unemployment 5%

In poverty 24%

Life expectancy 66 yrs

Infant Mortality 37/K live births


Literacy 77%

Languages English, Asante, Ewe, Fante, other

Religions Christian 71%, Muslim 18%, traditional 5%

Labor Force Agriculture 45%, industry 14%, services 41%

PCVs 1961–present CURRENT: 133, Education, Agriculture, Health; TTD: 4,495

Adult Books

The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born (African Writers Series)
Ayai Kwei Arman, 1968

Publisher: Heinemann (October 23, 1989)
Format: Paperback, 191 pages
ISBN-10: 0435905406
ISBN-13: 978-0435905408

Summary: The unnamed protagonist, referred to as "the man", works at a railway station and is approached with a bribe; when he refuses, his wife is furious and he can't help feeling guilty despite his innocence. The novel expresses the frustration many citizens of the newly independent states in Africa felt after attaining political independence. Many African states like Ghana followed similar paths in which corruption and the greed of African elites became rampant. Corruption in turn filtered down to the rest of society. The action takes place between 1965's Passion Week and 25 February 1966 – the day after the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president. The "rot" that characterized post-independent Ghana in the last years of Nkrumah is a dominant theme in the book.


Ghana Must Go
Taiye Selasi, 2014

Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0143124978
ISBN-13: 978-0143124979

Summary: Kweku Sai is dead. A renowned surgeon and failed husband, he succumbs suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of Kweku’s death sends a ripple around the world, bringing together the family he abandoned years before. Ghana Must Go is their story. Electric, exhilarating, beautifully crafted, Ghana Must Go is a testament to the transformative power of unconditional love, from a debut novelist of extraordinary talent.

Moving with great elegance through time and place, Ghana Must Go charts the Sais’ circuitous journey to one another. In the wake of Kweku’s death, his children gather in Ghana at their enigmatic mother’s new home. The eldest son and his wife; the mysterious, beautiful twins; the baby sister, now a young woman: each carries secrets of his own. What is revealed in their coming together is the story of how they came apart: the hearts broken, the lies told, the crimes committed in the name of love. Splintered, alone, each navigates his pain, believing that what has been lost can never be recovered—until, in Ghana, a new way forward, a new family, begins to emerge.

Ghana Must Go is at once a portrait of a modern family, and an exploration of the importance of where we come from to who we are. In a sweeping narrative that takes us from Accra to Lagos to London to New York, Ghana Must Go teaches that the truths we speak can heal the wounds we hide.

Booklist: A father’s death leads to a new beginning for his fractured family in this powerful first novel. Kweku Sai is felled by a sudden heart attack at his home in Ghana. At the moment of his death, Kweku is filled with regret for his abandonment of his first wife, Fola, and their four children in Baltimore, many years ago, after losing his job as a surgeon. His four children are now scattered across the East Coast: Olu, a gifted surgeon who followed in his father’s footsteps; twins Taiwo and Kehinde, who share a terrible secret from childhood; and youngest daughter Sadie, who is struggling with her body image and sexuality. In the wake of their father’s death, the four siblings, along with Olu’s wife, Ling, reunite to journey to their mother’s home in Ghana, where secrets, resentments, and grief bubble to the surface. A finely crafted yarn that seamlessly weaves the past and present, Selasi’s moving debut expertly limns the way the bonds of family endure even when they are tested and strained. --Kristine Huntley

"Selasi’s ambition—to show her readers not "Africa" but one African family, authors of their own achievements and failures—is one that can be applauded no matter what accent you give the word." —Nell Freudenberger, The New York Times Book Review

“Irresistible from the first line—'Kweku dies barefoot on a Sunday before sunrise, his slippers by the doorway to the bedroom like dogs'—this bright, rhapsodic debut stood out in the thriving field of fiction about the African diaspora.” —The Wall Street Journal

"Ghana Must Go comes with a bag load of prepublication praise. For once, the brouhaha is well deserved. Ms. Selasi has an eye for the perfect detail: a baby's toenails 'like dewdrops', a woman sleeps 'like a cocoyam. A thing without senses... unplugged from the world.' As a writer she has a keen sense of the baggage of childhood pain and an unforgettable voice on the page. Miss out on Ghana Must Go and you will miss one of the best new novels of the season." —The Economist

"[Selasi] writes elegantly about the ways people grow apart — husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, parents and kids." —Entertainment Weekly

"In Ghana Must Go, Selasi drives the six characters skillfully through past and present, unearthing old betrayals and unexplained grievances at a delicious pace. By the time the surviving five convene at a funeral in Ghana, we are invested in their reconciliation—which is both realistically shaky and dramatically satisfying… Narrative gold." —Elle magazine

"Selasi’s prose… is a rewarding mix of soulful conjuring and intelligent introspection, and points to a bright future." —The Daily Beast

Kids' Books

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboh
Laurie Ann Thompson, illus. Sean Qualls, 2015, AGES 5–8

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
Format: Hardcover: 40 pages
ISBN-10: 044981744X
ISBN-13: 978-0449817445

Summary: The true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, a young man born with a severe disability in rural Ghana who bicycles across the entire country to raise awareness for disabled people throughout Africa and around the world.

Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled.

Thompson's lyrical prose and Qualls's bold collage illustrations offer a powerful celebration of triumphing over adversity.

School Library Journal This powerful and winning picture book tells the story of a young man overcoming the odds. Born in Ghana with a deformed left leg, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah experienced stigma as a result of his disability: his father abandoned the family, and many assumed that the boy would be little more than a burden. However, with the encouragement of his mother, Yeboah refused to give up, hopping to school (instead of walking) and even learning to play soccer and cycle, despite receiving no extra help or accommodations. Thompson's lucidly written text explains how Yeboah cycled 400 miles in 2001 to raise awareness, forever changing how Ghanaians perceived those with disabilities. The narrative is simply and clearly written, and the illustrations are skillfully rendered in charmingly emotive ink and watercolor collages. A brief author's note explains how Yeboah inspired legislation upholding equal rights for the disabled and how he continues to make strides, working with organizations that provide wheelchairs to those who need them and setting up a scholarship fund for children with disabilities. VERDICT This uplifting account will resonate with readers and supplement global and cultural studies. A triumph.—Kathryn Diman, Bass Harbor Memorial Library, Bernard, ME

• Winner of the ALA Youth Media Awards Schneider Family Children's Book Award
• An Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) Notable Children's Book for 2016
• Listed in CCBC Choices 2016 by the Cooperative Children's Book Center
• Recipient of a 2015 Eureka Honor Award from the California Reading Association
• Finalist for the 2015 Cybils Award for Elementary/Middle Grade Non-Fiction
• Finalist for the 2016-2017 Georgia Children's Picturebook (Gr. K-4) Award
• A Junior Library Guild selection
• A FirstBook #StoriesForAll featured title
• Included on the Winter 2014-2015 Kids' Indie Next List
• An Amazon Editors' Best Books of the Month Pick for January


Film: Emmanuel's Gift
Director: Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern , 2005
This documentary tells the story of 27-year-old Ghanaian Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, born with a deformed leg. The disabled are often disdained or even murdered at birth in Africa, but Emmanuel is determined to be a part of society. After receiving a bicycle, thanks to a grant for handicapped athletes, Emmanuel rides across Ghana, challenging stereotypes in the process. Emmanuel travels to America to receive a prosthetic leg and spreads awareness of human rights for the disabled everywhere he goes.

IMDB: If you are born disabled in Ghana, West Africa you are likely to be poisoned, or left to die by your family; and if you are not poisoned or left for dead, you're likely to be hidden away in a room; and if you're not hidden, you are destined to spend your lifetime begging on the streets. Of the twenty million people in Ghana, two million are disabled. This is the story of one disabled man whose mission-and purpose- is to change all that forever. In Emmanuel's Gift, filmmakers Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern have uncovered a story as compelling as it is important. Narrated by Oprah Winfrey, the film chronicles the life of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, a young Ghanaian man born with a severely deformed right leg, who today, against incalculable odds, is opening minds, hearts and doors-and effecting social and political change throughout his country. While Emmanuel's message is vital: people with disabilities are valuable contributors to any society, his method is inspirational. Emmanuel begins his quest with a bicycle ride, over 600 kilometers, across Ghana with one leg-and continues to spread his vision with grit and resolve. Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern have been documenting Emmanuel's plight for over a year, having shot over 100 hours of powerful imagery. The film includes original footage shot in Ghana, California, Oregon and New York, as well as photographs and other acquired film/video of Emmanuel's early years. Through it all, they have created an intimate insight into the mind and heart of a visionary whose unforgettable journey transcends continents and cultures and becomes each of ours to share.


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