We are now two at the Afia Hotel in Accra. Anne and I are here until late Wednesday night, as she fulfills some more duties in her role as Rotary International Vice President.
Past Rotary International Director and past Foundation trustee Sam Okudzeto, a lawyer in Accra, took us into his care today to show us two important parts of his country’s economy.
In one area of the campus, we stopped to look at a series of small statues of the past chancellors of the school, begun in 1948. The first three chancellors were from Great Britain and all since have been Ghanaians.
This provided a time for Sam to give us a short review of the end of the British colonial period that came in 1957, and Sam’s personal story from that time.
Sam was a student at the University of London, having arrived there as a British subject with a British passport. As soon as Ghana gained its freedom, Sam said he went to the new Ghana embassy in London, turned in his British passport and became a citizen of Ghana.
After our visit to the school, we rode for about two hours to Akosombo to get a look at a huge dam and hydroelectric complex along the Volta River. This is one of two power generating stations operated by the Volta River Authority and has since 1961 been the main generator and supplier of electricity in Ghana.
The area along the river is beautiful and has resulted in several hotels being built nearby. We saw two. We ate lunch at the Royal Senchi, a large conference hotel. For a while we were the only diners and thought the big buffet spread was more than the three of us could eat. But finally a group of about 20 young athletic men came in and in no time at all the food on the buffet had dwindled.
Being curious as to who these men were, we hailed one to our table and learned that they were attending a nearby football academy. Before we started talking Gamecock football, the young Scot clarified that what he really meant was a soccer academy. (We had already faced a communication challenge when I asked him “What are y’all doing here?”)
After lunch, we went to the Volta Hotel where there is a magnificent view of the river, the dam, and the lake.
Seeing the university, the power generating dam, and the two nice hotels and spending time with Sam demonstrated to us that there is more to Ghana than what we saw in the hard places. This is a stable, peaceful country that wants to help itself. It wants good roads, good schools, good hospitals, clean water, toilets.
It can happen–with leaders like Sam Okudzeto and 1.2 million Rotarians to back him up.