PERSONAL STORY 7
We had a WhatsApp videocall with Joseph. June 9, 2020.
Joseph lives in Central Region, Cape Coast in Ghana. It used to be the former capital city in Ghana. There are a lot of people in Cape Coast, but some places are quite new and not so busy. Our teacher told us that Joseph did visit Groningen ones. He told us he was in Groningen once for a year. After that he visited the Netherlands three more times for a couple of weeks. He really enjoined it in Groningen and wanted to see the people again. He studied one year International Communication at the Hanzehogeschool. It was some kind of exchange program. He had to follow an extra course of study in the Netherlands in order to continue his study in Ghana. He is a teaching associate and working to become a lecturer after his PhD. It is a lot of work. He still has two years to go, but he wants to finish earlier.
In times of Corona
Everyone is his surrounding is healthy and staying safe. He is also feeling good. He told us that almost everything has changed. You don't see people just moving around. The president gave the people some restrictions and the people have to respect that. In Ghana, people are obliged to wear mouth caps when they get out of the house. They always have to keep their hands clean. The people in Ghana are very social people and like shaking hands and hugging but are not allowed to shake hands of hugging at all in times of Corona. Social life feels strange now. Joseph told us that he doesn't see people as often as before; that feels weird. Mainly bars and restaurants are now closed. This is where people used to meet other people all the time. Almost everything is affected by the virus in Ghana. Also, all the schools are closed. There is no education right now. The president allowed a week ago that the people who are in their last year of school, can go back to school and make the exams to finish it. At his university they are now preparing the exams so that the students of the last year can finish everything on June 16.
Joseph indicates that Ghana still has very few infections compared to the Netherlands. They now have had around the 9000 cases in total, around the 40 deaths and around the 3000 recoveries. Basically, everything has been affected. Usually Joseph goes to his supervisor's office regularly. Now he only goes if he has to pick up some papers or use the internet. It's hard to go outside now, because Joseph wants to keep himself save. Joseph's life is more private now. Normally he does a lot with other people, now he does a lot by his own. He's trying to stay at home as much as he can. The good thing about this is that he can spend more time with his family. It is noticeable to Joseph that many people try to play by the measures, but that this remains very difficult. It's a new thing and they are not used to it yet. The people try to stay in distance, but it doesn't really come as expected. In the grocery store, people don't keep a distance. But most people really try to stay safe.
In Ghana they want to have a big funeral with a lot of people. Because of the Coronavirus, people can't organize a funeral. They're not allowed to have a large group of people, so they have to do it in private. Relatives find this very difficult. There are families who try to keep their loved one in a monetary and wait, so that they can organize a Ghanaian funeral later on.
Students who are not graduate this year, can follow online classes. E-learning. It's not for everyone possible to follow this e-learning, because they don't have access to internet or have a computer/laptop. For the people who have internet, most of the time the internet connection is very low, so there are a lot of interruptions.
The impact on the country will be big, Joseph says. There will be shortage in food supply in future due to Covid-19 The government has a plan to build 80 hospitals in one year. It seems like a very good plan. According to Joseph it seems impossible, but they see how it goes. He thinks building of 80 hospitals in a year is more of a political talk. People want better healthcare, so they're waiting to see how this end. Joseph does know NGOs, but he don't know how they will be affected. He knows that everyone has been affected by the virus, so also the NGOs. At the moment many people are already unemployed in Ghana. After this crisis there will only be more people unemployed. A lot of stores had to close down because of the pandemic. It's hard because you just don't know how it will end (Joseph, 2020).
Josephl. (2020, June). Impact COVID-19 on Ghana(A. Engberink, E. Gnodde, & W. Wonder, Interviewers)