After 8 months we are starting to feel like we understand Ghana a bit. Ghana is just slightly smaller than our home state of Oregon. Both border and ocean. That is about the end of the list of similarities. For one thing, Oregon has a population of less than 4 million according to the 2010 census. But Ghana has a population of over 24 million. Also, the largest city in Oregon, Portland, has a population of less than 600,000. Ghana has a city with almost three times than number (Accra with 1.7 million) and another with more than twice (Kumasi with 1.5 million). Like most countries in Africa, Ghana has “linguistic diversity”, in other words, “many languages”
The Ethnologue, the definitive listing of the world’s languages recognized by the International Standards Organization, lists 79 languages for Ghana.
Here is a language map of Ghana. The diversity of languages poses some challenges. Those of you in Oregon can imagine what Oregon would be like if 79 languages were spoken there. If everywhere you went you ran into a different language. How does a country run an education system? Young children entering school in some areas may not speak the language of their teacher, or any teacher.
The churches also have to cope with all the languages. Many have concluded that people cannot live out their faith without the Word in their language.
But there is good news about that which I will save for a future post.