Zoumana Sidibe – A Photographer in Ghana
My Name is Zoumana Sidibe, I am a photographer currently in Ghana. I am here for a 6 months training in English sponsored by the Fondation Oumou Dilly; I am studying at the Centre of Languages and professional studies (CELPS). The first month I was in a class of 20 students from different countries. This integration has an important moment for me to learn and share experiences.
For some years, Ghana has become the hub for French and Arabic speaking students in West Africa who want to learn English. The capital of Ghana, Accra is one of the most expensive cities in West Africa. Notwithstanding hundreds of francophone students come to learn English every month. Most of them come first to learn English, and after that they do professional courses in, for instance, accounting, bilingual secretary courses, Computer Studies, etc.
The majority of the language schools are located in Alajo, and 50% of student stays in this neighbourhood. Ginding accommodation is one of the challenges foreign students face in Accra. At the beginning life here was not easy for me; I first stayed far away from campus before I later found accommodation near my school. At this point I was lucky to stay in house where the landlady was a retired teacher, so she listened to me all the time and corrected errors in my pronunciation, grammar and expressions. Initially I had difficulty in speaking and understanding English, and it was not easy to me to go for shopping alone. My desire to speak motivated me to attend classes and I did my best to improve my English. Then life in Accra became easier for me, I got many the Ghanaian friends and friends other West African countries. One of my friends was a teacher at our school; he advised me and recommended books to me.
I later joined the computer department of our school to learn 3D Animation and technical vocabulary on photography. My Beninese classmate was interested in photography; he is a graphic designer so we shared our experiences and ideas of setting up a business together in the future. Each school has its own English club, which isone the platforms where students practice English. Every Saturday I attended the English club to participate in different activities to improve my speech.
At the end of studies, I participated in an excursion to the central region of Ghana, Cape Coast. We met a tour guide who explained to us the history of Elmina Castle; the first Castle built by colonial masters in 1482. We also visited the University of Cape, and the Kakum National Park.
Ghanaians are hardworking, especially women, they are everywhere in both the formal and informal sectors. I liked Ghanaian dishes so much like; Banku, jollof, foufou and others.