FEATURE: Asare Ebenezer

I am Asare Ebenezer. I am a practicing vegan from the Republic of Ghana. I'm 19 years of age and in high school . Although veganism is not well practiced here, I love my village very well, and so I dream of providing a lot of things to help them. However, one of the major things that needs to be done to help spread awareness and camaraderie among us as vegans and as other villagers is to provide us all with an internet cafe.

The Internet Cafe
The internet cafe can provide the following benefits:
1. A place to share hopes and dreams.
2. A place to begin vegan and animal rights awareness.
3. A place to gather to brain storm for help, jobs, education and finding ways to help build the vegan and animal rights causes.

Being Vegan in Ghana
Being a vegan in my country is not easy. I have gone through a lot of problems and as we all have come to understand problems always serve to strengthen us, but there is more to this issue. Vegan ideals help us recognize our world in a better way, and we see much clearer the need to help end dependence on animals as a food source. In fact, I was fortunate enough to become a vegan when I was 13.

The cause of this came about when I noticed that the act of feeding on meat does a lot more harm than good on the environment, on our bodies and on our ability to live happily. My late father was a hunter together along with my grandfather. When I was young they would go into the forest each day and bring in different kinds of bush meats. That is what we used for our food in the household. We would give away some to our neighbors since we had a lot. I used to enjoy the good feeling of generosity until I started making some analysis on my own.

Vegan vs Meats
One day I asked myself - do meats and fish really help our body? What brought up that idea, I thought to myself. Well, I had the mentality that animals need to enjoy freedom. Of course, for them to enjoy they need to live naturally. We do not need to kill them!

How I Learned about Vegan Foods
Then, one day I spoke with a Rastafarian who was a vegan in the next village to me. He taught me a lot about being a vegan and the vital point took me over. From there I have never tasted any animal product again. An interesting thing is that I was told by my mother that when I was very young, I never did eat meat...I ignored it anytime it was part of my food. 
Here is something also interesting, my mother told me about how she forced me to eat meat...because in Ghana there is a misconception that people who ignore meat in their diets will become deaf. Education would surely help us all there. I think what also helped is that I feel I was born a vegan (and I'm proud of it).

Vegan Research for the Cafe
The start of the cafe idea began when I started researching the importance of vegan ideals. I began to realize that vegan idealism has a direct effect on the environment, the individual, and also on the animal. 

I wrote to my basic school head teacher about the new research that came about from the amazing fact that veganism leads to all kinds of much better health for our villagers, our animals, and for us all. 
The great part was that when the time came about....at first he was not convinced, but he allowed me to prove how this was to him. He then allowed me to speak to my colleagues at the assembly standings.

One Monday morning. I was a little bit shy but soon I spoke out with flying colors. Again, the old suspicions came: Most students then at the basic school started calling me "Mr.Kyerenam" which means a person who hates meat. They did not understand me, a vegan, because they were taught that meat was vital to them. 

However, after delivering my ideas and solid research it was clear that all the teachers were amazed and soon all started the effort at reducing the intake of animal products. Furthermore, it did not go unnoticed that people might attempt to justify consumption of animal products for reasons of health. Here I began explaining that an increasing number of medical professionals are beginning to realize that not only are plant-based diets nutritionally complete, but they are actually more nourishing and far less toxic than their animal-based counterparts. 

In addition, the public here is beginning to realize that many of the major dangers associated with diet heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and many, many more problems and diseases are exacerbated by the consumption of animal products.

l love being a vegan. I have been able to convert two of my friends to veganism. l have an unending mission to help people understand the natural and necessary importance of the vegan movement and how natural and better it is to be a vegan.

I would like to start up the internet cafe which as I mentioned can do so much to open up communication between all vegan groups and the people of our area and villages. In turn, many people will come to feel closer together and then we can get things done locally right away. The idea of getting links to Black Vegans Rock and other vegan groups all over will help the cafe become a solid source of information. Thank you.

You can contact Asare through email: asarequophy@gmail.com