Alabama meets Ghana interesting By Nancy Blackmon 11-28-2003 Reality television seems to be the thing these days, but I just can#039;t get into the idea. Watching folks eat spiders or take lie detecto

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 28, 2003

Reality television seems to be the thing these days, but I just can't get into the idea. Watching folks eat spiders or take lie detector tests isn't my idea of entertainment. I'm more into escaping from reality by tuning into the adventures of Ed, Carol and the strange world of Stuckeyville.

For the life of me I can't get too interested in the reality shows that are so popular. There is, however, one exception and I might tune in to watch what happens.

On Monday, Oct. 6 the National Geographic Channel premieres "Worlds Apart," a 13-part reality show that takes American families to remote cultures and gives them an opportunity to experience lifestyles that are drastically different from the way they live.

For 10 days the family, which the promo says is chosen because of its spirit of adventure and curiosity, becomes apart of a culture that is worlds apart from the way they live in America. It is billed as a crash course in cultural diversity and has as a goal fostering long-term appreciation of a different way of life.

What really interested me when I read about the show was the fact that the family featured in the first show is from right here in Alabama.

The season premiere, "Birmingham, AL meets Ghana," has the Russell family transplanted to the village of Longo in Ghana, a country located on the inner crook of Africa.

Scott Russell, a financial advisor, his wife, Lynne, a volunteer director for a marathon; their son R.J., who is 15 and daughter, Alex, 12, stay with the Bawa family, a member of the Frafra tribe. The tribe is a group of sedentary farmers and hunters who survive mainly on acres of millet that surround their village. Their homes are traditional stick and baked earth dwellings where they live with their extended family.

Since Scott Russell is partial to air conditioning set to reach Arctic temperatures and a good cold icy when he is thirsty, a visit to Ghana should be interesting. I'm pretty sure you can't get an icy in Ghana, and I doubt earth dwellings are air conditioned.

Despite the gulf between these two families and the way they live, the goal of the show is realized when a bond forms making the final farewell difficult.

Some of the episodes have a family from Oakton, Virg. traveling to Kiriwina, an island about 100 miles off the coast of Papua New Guinea; and a New York family visiting India to participate in the traditions of a lost royal family.

And if watching this new reality show isn't enough, National Geographic is giving families an opportunity to be a part of the series. The producers are looking for "dynamic families who are curious, adventurous and good communicators. At, you can download an application or you can call 888-999-9423 and leave a message expressing an interest in being on the show.

The idea of fostering understanding between diverse cultures is wonderful, but I don't think I'm quite ready to leap into reality television as a participant. Unless, they can get me a ticket to visit Ed and his tribe in Stuckeyville, that strange land located on the inner crook of Wednesday night prime time.