Hello readers! I realize it has been quite some time since my last blog and I want to fill you in on some of the exciting things we did while we were in Accra. We have since moved on to many other places. I am going to try my best to catch you all up while I have internet! Before I get into that, however, here are some of the field trips, fun adventures, and magnificent things we saw in Accra.
One night in the hotel we had an awesome drumming and dancing group from the area come and put on a performance for us. The drummers, led by a guy named Dennis, were absolutely incredible, and the dancers—consisting of 3 women and 3 men, led by a guy named Edward—were definitely a sight to see. While watching it I kept wondering how on earth they got their bodies to move the way they did. Then, to my surprise, they asked all of us to get in a circle and brought out 39 drums for us to learn on. The drum patterns took a while to pick up, mostly because our ears are attuned to Western music, but by the end everyone pretty much had it. Then they moved the drums and they taught us some of their awesome dance moves. It was much harder than it looked!
Possibly one of the coolest things we did during our time in Accra was visit a chief of a Ga tribe. In our history class we have been learning about the differences between colonial and post-colonial West Africa (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, ask me or Google it!). Ghana gained its independence from Great Britain in 1957, (pretty recent!) so in talking with the chief, we were able to hear first-hand what Ghana was like pre- and post-independence. The chief was the absolute sweetest man I have ever met, with a huge smile on his face the entire time. On top of that, the chief, his wife, all of the tribe’s elders and many others came to welcome us, and were extremely excited to have us there. They were extremely hospitable and just as eager to share their stories as we were to hear them.
As charming as the chief was, the children at the Anani Memorial International were at least twice as cute. We visited this Pre-K through 6th grade school, and I have to say I have never seen a group of more talented, energetic, and adorable children in my life. When we arrived at the school, we sat across from about 100 smiling faces, and watched as they put on a performance of singing, dancing, drama, and drum playing that blew my mind. A few of the children introduced themselves in French and English, and gave us a very large welcome into their school. The dancers were moving in ways I couldn’t even dream of, and most of them were only 9 years old! The plays they performed were also extremely funny… I was extremely impressed. We also spent a lot of time just playing with the kids, talking with them, and picking them up until our arms about fell off J
After visiting Anani, we had the opportunity to visit the University of Ghana at Legon which was very exciting! It is the school that Dr. John Tiawah-Boateng went to and it was very interesting to see the differences between university at in the U.S. and here in Ghana. To be honest, aside from the radical heat and the occasional dirt road through campus, it wasn’t all that different! If they had a program for CSD, I would be looking into graduate school…
For the art class we are taking, we took some very exciting trips to learn about different types of African Art in the area. One place we went was called Aba House, where we learned to do Batik, a kind of fabric dying very common in Ghana. It consists of cutting out a pattern out of foam to make a stamp, dipping it in hot wax to stamp a pattern on a piece of fabric, and dying the fabric. The wax keeps the dye from sticking in those areas, and you end up with a wonderful pattern. Another place we went was called Cedi’s Beads, where we got to learn from a man named Cedi how to create wonderful beads out of recycled glass. At least, the beads he made were wonderful… not all of us were so lucky with ours turning out. Both of these places were absolutely fascinating, though, because literally everything that was used to design, make, and decorate each of these things was hand-made. From the batik stamps and fabric, to the clay molds to make and sticks to paint the glass beads, everything started from scratch. It has really given me a new appreciation for African Art!
That is all for now! Although we have done some very fun things in Kumasi already, I’ll save it for another blog and hope that the internet works when I decide to post it!