Special Coverage
12:53 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Gone to Ghana: KUT's Laura Rice Heads to West Africa With Journalism Program

KUT hosted a Ghanian journalist late last year as part of an exchange program through the International Center for Journalists. To complete the exchange, I'm heading to Ghana  for a couple of weeks.

While I'm there, I'll be meeting with journalists at a variety of media outlets, taking lots of pictures and gathering information on stories that are unique to Ghana as well as those that tie West Africa to the U.S. and, specifically, Texas!

Ghana is considered one of the most stable countries in West Africa – and it’s among the most welcoming to tourists. One of my biggest challenges may be mosquitoes – which carry a triad of deadly diseases: Yellow Fever, West Nile Virus and Malaria.

I'll be spending most of my visit in the capital city of Accra. But I'll also have the opportunity  to venture along the coastline to Takoradi and Cape Coast.

Here are a few FAQs about the Republic of Ghana:

  • Land Size: 92,000+ square miles – about the size of Oregon
  • Population: 25 million – about the same as Texas
  • Official Language: English is taught in schools and used in government but most people also speak Akan and some speak other tribal languages.
  • Official Religion: None – about 70 percent are Christian and 18 percent are Muslim
  • Average High Temperature in January: 81 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Average High Temperature in July:  77 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Currency: The Ghanian cedi – $1 = about 2.39 cedis

A (very) brief history:

  • People have lived in the area now known as Ghana since at least the Middle Ages.
  • The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive on the African coast – in 1471.
  • Subsequently, the Dutch and the English also arrived in the area.
  • The Europeans traded for gold and, later, people.
  • Ghana is one of the African countries with the most prominent footprint of slavery. That's because the trade took place in forts and castles that had been used to store gold. These buildings still stand today and serve as reminders of the past. Whereas, in many other African countries, slave trading was conducted out of huts and other makeshift buildings that simply did not withstand the test of time.
  • The British officially colonized Ghana in 1874.
  • Ghana was the first sub-Saharan African country to declare independence (1957)
  • The country had its first democratic presidential change of power in 2000.

I hope you'll check in with me as I begin this adventure. I'll be posting here on KUT.org when I can and I'll also be tweeting. You can follow me @LauraRiceKUT.

Please feel free to shoot me an email as well: lrice@kut.org.

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