Saturday, October 23, 2010

Life in the village of Okurase

Chris and lived in Ghana for 7 and a half weeks and it was truly amazing! We were different people while we were there, not different unlike ourselves but instead more ourselves than we had ever been. We woke up every morning with the sun around 6am to the children sweeping the dirt off the dirt out side our door calling each other and probably beating on a drum. We were alway happy and ready to go because we knew we had a purpose, we each were fulfilling our individual passions in life side by side and being loved by the people around us while doing it.

At first, walking through the village we noticed poor living conditions and shattered clothes. After a couple of weeks our focus shifted to seeing the joy of the people in the community they share, which we were invited into. We were excitedly greeted by "Uncle Kwame" (Chris's given name) or "Anti Adjoa" (my given name) or other names people came up with for us every where we went in the village, sometime by the same children 10x a day who would jump up and down and run up to hug us every time. We realized that while the people of the village of Okurase do need a lot of help, they also have a lot they can offer to teach us about living life and being happy with what you have.

I will never forget, Celestina, a little girl I taught coming up to me at our celebration after our performance and I told her to get in line for her food she said "No, you go if your not eating I'm not eating." Then at least five other children before even touching their bowl of food came to me and said "you're invited." Community and unity is part of who they are what they have they have to share.

I know that Chris and I will never forget this trip and know that we will probably be a part of this project for many years to come. After this adventure, we are certainly living our lives to a new drum beat. Your invited.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Arriving in Ghana

We arrived in Accra, Ghana on Tuesday with a slight delay. Nana Ama Yeboah picked us up from the airport and from the moment we stepped into Accra we were facinated by the people. You can buy just about anything through the window of your car from the locals selling good that they carry on top of their heads.
It was very exciting arriving at Nana's home and meeting her three daughters Adjoa-age 21, Opeibea age 19 and Nana Serwaa age 4. We quickly found out that Nana Serwaa puts the energizer bunny to shame, there is never a dull moment when she is around.
The first day we spent in Accra visiting the monument of the first president of Ghana and wandering around the shops of the Arts district. We visited Powerful's drum shop and tried to learn to play, I mostly enjoyed watching and listening to the music.
On return to Nana's home we realized how crazy the traffic is here! We waited in traffic and watched the sun go down around 6:30 (the same time all year) trying to absorb the scenery as much as possible.
Our second day we drove to the Central Region to Cape Coast and the Jungle Canopy. The Canopy was an adventure- we walked across 7 rope bridges attached high up in the trees suspended over the rainforest.
Then we went on our way to Cape Coast, listening to the local music with our wind blown hair, seeing the palms and scattered villages along the way.
We visited Elmina Castle, the place where slaves where shipped off around the world. It was unreal to imagine the feet that had tread the path to the door of no return before us.
When we left the Castle Nana had to help us get to the car as all of the teens surrounded us to try and get us to buy their goods or support their school.
We are so thankful for Nana's hospitality, she is truly an amazing woman.
Today, we go to Okurase to see what is in store for us.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Preparing for Ghana

When I was a small child I always kept a journal, writing and dancing were my outlets to express my feelings. I have a distinct memory around Thanksgiving one year being so thankful I wanted to share the gifts God had given me with the children in Africa. I obtained a double major in Dance and General Communication Disorders from Winthrop University. During this time, in a group discussion of "what do you want to do before you die" I was caught off guard that the first thought that came to my mind was go to Africa. When my husband Chris and I were dating, I told him some day I want to go dance in Africa and he said he would follow where ever I wanted to go as long as we both had a purpose there.

Now we have the opportunity to combine both of our life passions of dance and Architecture in Project OKURASE in Ghana. God willing we will leave mid-August and stay through September.