I went to Ghana thinking I was open-minded about people and different cultures. I mean, I’m from the center of the universe (Boulder, Colorado). I’m married to someone from India. I listen to jazz music. I use a Mac. I have stubble. I’m hip. I’m down.
I figured one of the student outcomes of this trip would be a little mind-expansion that comes from interacting with a different culture. That it would be good for the students to learn and experience people who look and live very differently than they do.
I was wrong. I was the one needing a little of that educating.
Many Newmont expats come from raw materials and excavation industries. Oil and mining mostly. Rough guys with tough backgrounds. Blue collar women who know what it’s like to be tired after a day at work. Calluses. Cat calls.
Turns out I had a pretty firm definition of this type. And time and again, they redefine it for me here in Africa. I’ve had the most enlightening discussions about Africans, aid for Africa, and cultural differences here with the self-described Newmont Roughnecks. They’re honest about it all, and transparent. And more deep, thoughtful, and sophisticated than I myself have ever been.
I truly hope to raise a glass (or two) with them again someday.