By Patrick Kalonji Kadima (M.Afr, Stagiaire)
I spent one month, from September 4 till 30, at the Tamale Institute of Cross Cultural Studies (TICCS) for a cultural introduction course which was based on introducing its participants to the diversity of ethnic groups and languages in Ghana. It included the “do’s and don’ts”, Chiefs and politics, ethno-linguistic groups, cross-cultural spirituality and cross-cultural differences, conflict resolution and Islam in Ghana today. Adding to it were: dynamics of African Traditional Religion (ATR), kinship systems and gender roles and social change in Ghana, Christianity in Northern Ghana, as well as witchcraft mentality, friendship, cross-cultural communication and language learning.
The above mentioned topics aimed at providing the basic capacity and understanding to the participants for ministering or do pastoral work in various cultures in Ghana. This one-month course was not only pleasant and attractive but also it uplifting my awareness, activated my presence and full participation when I was feed more and more on the dynamic aspect of cross-cultural values.
Moreover, through one’s presence in such an adventure, one benefits already. All these topics are interrelated in such a way that they become instruments or tools to develop our various goals in our future mission in view of facilitating our relationship with the local people and enhance their lives.
Through the lenses of cross-culture, one observes that there is an enrichment relationship. This is to say, even the one ministering or doing pastoral work finds and discovers that he or she is improving her or his own life, hence he or she finds fulfilment.
The course at TICCS also provided us with the skills, drills and techniques to learn a new language. As one of my fellow compatriots, Benezet Bujo once said; “Language is one of the capital elements that cannot be neglected.” Consequently, I will not neglect learning Dagbani without which my pastoral experience will be limited. I am open and ready to experiment a vision of life which is different from my own culture.
In few days to come, I will be going for my language course in one of the villages. As I am preparing myself and feel equipped enough with my experience at TICCS, Dagbani will be my first African language that I will sit down and concentrate on learning. I wish to speak it like a native speaker. I know that it is not a Bantu language, but I am willing to put much effort into it. May the almighty God, who blew on the Apostles the Holy Spirit to speak in various languages, blow in me as He did with them.
I thank God for all the wonders He keeps on performing in my life. Countless thanks to the Province of Ghana-Nigeria and to the Sector of Ghana for making it possible that I undergo such a course. Many thanks are due to Fr. Clement, the stagiaires’ Coordinator. I cannot forget the Director of TICCS, Fr. Joshua SVD, the staff members of TICCs, and my course mates. Lastly, my thanks would be incomplete if I fail to thank the members of my community at St Monica Parish. Yes, we can!!!