Emmanuel Adotey, a former Baobab Board member, passed away suddenly on January 2, 2012. His funeral was this past Saturday, which I attended along with many members of the Ghanaian Community and the RCMP (where he recently retired from).
A few recollections from us at Baobab Community:
Emmanuel and his wife Stella came to a Baobab Tree drum and dance concert about 8 or 9 years ago. I remember clearly Emmanuel introducing themselves to us, and enthusiastically expressing admiration for our efforts in Ghanaian culture. From that moment on, Emmanuel and Stella became two of our greatest supporters, coming to all of our events dressed in beautiful Ghanaian dress and spreading the word about our activities.
Soon after, Emmanuel joined our Board of Directors, where he served for three years, from 2005-2008. Board meetings were never dull with Emmanuel around, with a twinkle in his eye and a hearty laugh, which was infectious and made us all giggle! A highlight during that time was the Ghanaian fashion show that Stella and Emmanuel staged at one of our annual fundraisers. Everyone was very excited about showcasing all the beautiful outfits and one of the most attractive models was of course, Stella.
Emmanuel was very generous in giving back to his community but you could tell he was especially proud of his Ghanaian heritage. Emmanuel helped us in planning for our youth performers visit to Ghana in 2006, even offering up some accommodation if we could possibly make it to his hometown of Hohoe. The long trek was not possible during the short stay we were in Ghana but I do hope to visit that area on another trip someday. I am sure his relatives are just as open and friendly as he was.
Emmanuel said to me once that he was sorry he did not hear about us sooner, when his children were younger as he would have liked to have them participate in the drumming and dancing. As it turned out, he was able to tell his god-daughter Angelina Gagbenon about us, and she joined our youth performers shortly after that. Angie and her family were strong supporters of our program as well, and Angie was a natural leader in dance and drumming, and came to Ghana with us on our most recent trip, last summer.
Everyone at Baobab Community remembers Emmanuel with fondness (pictured, centre, below with other board members in June 2007). He will be missed but has left a legacy of joy and connection for us all.