Mary Crawford – 110209140
This week we were assigned to read an article on Accra, a bustling city in Ghana that has had an urban explosion despite being in a post-colonial area. Although this has become a hip place for international travellers to visit, very few are aware of the underlying problems in the city. This truly reminded me of the Dominican Republic and its ever growing resort town, Punta Cana. It has become one of the most visited vacation destinations in the western hemisphere and yet is also one of the poorest countries, struck with corrupt government. Despite its beautiful white beaches and exotic animals, it is a city ready to crumble. Surrounded with batayes (dominican slums) and Haitians desperately trying to find work across the boarder, the resorts have created an illusion of luxury to all those who come to visit. The similarity between these two cities continue even with the segregation of the people. In attempt to blur the lines and shrink the gap between the wealthy and the poor, salsa classes and gyms have opened their doors to the public. Unfortunately, dancing is normally associated with the upper class and “gym rats” are normally the middle to lower class. In the Dominican Republic, Haitians are considered the scum of the earth (not my words) and often treated poorly by the Dominicans. In attempt to welcome Haitians, they created small communities working on the sugar plantations. In the end, this has only created them to be more isolated and working long back breaking hours in the field. There is little a government can try in order to eradicate the gap or merge two groups of people, this has to come from the population. Over time, cultures will blend and hopefully opinions will change. This can only be done by the people, not through dance classes and jobs.
I believe the author, Quayson, wants the reader to view Accra as a booming and lively city such as New York or Paris but unfortunately has to realize even in these large popular cities, there are huge gaps between the people. The more important issue is dealing with the real problems rather than attempting to cover them up. By presenting an honest telling of the situation, large companies may be more likely to invest in the city knowing that they can provide employment and have plenty of room to grow. Globalization is a wonderful thing but if it is not done properly or put through by a corrupt government, it does not always turn out for the better.