Culture Quests

Ghana

Africa
Capital: Accra
Languages: English (official), Asante, Ewe, Fante, Boron (Brong), Dagomba, Dangme, Dagarte (Dagaba), Akyem, Ga, Akuapem, Other
Useful links: CIA World Factbook

The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Ghana. Although au pairs from this country may or may not have had these experiences/beliefs, Au Pair in America wishes to share this general information with our families.

Au Pairs in General

  • The idea of being an au pair is new to Ghana.
  • Applicants from Ghana are motivated by the cultural experience, the challenge of caring for children from another country, having an American education, and meeting new friends.
  • An au pair's job potential is improved upon her return to Ghana. Most people believe “the best is from the West.”
  • Applicants do not have difficulty finding the program fees as families consider it a privilege to go to the U.S. and will find the money to pay the fees.
  • Young people in Ghana have the freedom of their family to socialize and date.
  • Curfews are not common, but rules must be followed or they will lose freedoms.
  • Young women are accustomed to sharing in household chores.
  • Nudity is not acceptable in Ghana. Women are trained to cover their bodies.
  • The people of Ghana value education, hard work that brings income, and fun/adventure.

Child Care Practices

  • Physical discipline is common in Ghana, though the agents have a training program to teach applicants alternative methods such as time outs.
  • Common discipline techniques include shouting and spanking the children.
  • Applicants obtain childcare experience through formal schooling, babysitting, and working at day café centers and Sunday School.
  • Usually both parents share the childcare responsibilities.
  • It is common for both parents to work and be away from home during the day.

Driving Skills

  • Few applicants will obtain a driving license as they have no access to a car.
  • The minimum driving age is age 18. If the applicant has access to a car, she will get her license at that age.
  • It is not difficult or expensive to obtain.
  • It takes approximately one month obtain a license in Ghana.
  • The process in order to obtain the driver’s license is:
    • Enroll in a driving school to take lessons
    • Theoretical test
    • Eye Exam
    • Learners Permit
    • Practical test
    • Fees
  • The International driving permit is available.
  • Most cars have manual transmission.

English Language Skills

  • English is the official language of Ghana.

Education

  • Approximately 30% of young women continue their studies at University.
  • Others attend vocational training, teacher training colleges, nursing, clerical staff training programs, salesmanship, or marry and start a family.
  • The academic year starts in September and ends in June or July.
  • The educational opportunities of the program are very important to applicants. They will want to help their au pair children with their homework and school assignments, go to school as part of the au pair program, and come back to Ghana with a career education for work or further training.

Health

  • The most common inoculations are polio, TB, whopping cough, typhoid, yellow fever, and cholera.
  • Most young women are not inoculated and tested for TB (Tuberculosis).
  • Ghana does not have a free health service. The government has started a health insurance program that is accessible to some areas of the country.
  • Most young women do not visit the dentist on a regular basis as it is expensive.
  • “Eating disorders” are not common in Ghana.

Diet

  • Most young people in Ghana eat meat.
  • Vegetarianism is not common.
  • A typical diet includes meat, cereals, vegetables, rice and potatoes.

Religion

  • The most common religions in Ghana are Christianity, Islam, a few Eastern Religions, and Animism (African Traditional Religion).
  • Most young people in Ghana practice their religion regularly.

Telephone & Internet

  • Homes do not typically have a telephone, but families will have mobile phones.
  • Applicants gain Internet access at Internet cafes

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