Notes from Ghana #20

Donations: Canada to Ghana

During the eighteen months of planning and fundraising for the trip, we also were raising money and collecting much needed supplies for some of the cultural groups and schools and libraries we were visiting. What a pleasure to be able to present these while on our trip. Thank you to the greater  Ottawa Community, both businesses and individuals for their generosity,  as well as the Baobab families for gathering,  packing and transporting these items to Ghana. For a full list of cash and in-kind donations see our donor page.

Our first opportunity came when we visited Kwasi’s mother’s village of Dzogadze to see the amazing performance of Atsiabekor and other pieces (see blog entry #13). We always give monetary donations to support the cultural groups performing to us in this village,  but this time we were able to give more than usual to the groups, as well as some money and school supplies to the community on general.

For almost twenty years members of Baobab Community have facilitated donations to the local school in the village of Dagbamete, our home in Ghana. This year was no exception. During our last week, we gathered outside one of the buildings one morning where the students, teachers and some elders and school officials had assembled. our manager Hayley presented the Kindergarten supplies, geometry sets and sports equipment, as well as presenting cash which enabled the school to buy a new computer and printer which they had been sorely needing. The students at the school gave a couple of wonderful cultural performances but the highlight was the Kindergarten class reciting their poems….absolutely CHARMING, especially our special friend Esther Dunyo (or as she says, ” My name is Dunyo, Estah“)  granddaughter of Kwasi, who captured all our hearts  from the beginning of our stay, with her affection and mischievous spirit (see her in sunglasses in Ghana blog entry #3)

The final destination of the donations was reached on our last full day in Ghana, when we visited the Nima Library for a cultural exchange with the Kathy Knowles Theatre Troupe. This library is part of the OSU Library Fund libraries in Ghana, an incredible story and organization to check out if you don’t know them.  This was an amazing afternoon of  artistic exchange….young dancers and drummers impressed and inspired the Baobab Youth, with exuberant performance skills and smiles that could knock you back a few feet if you were directly in front of them. After viewing a few pieces by the resident group, our kids reluctantly and nervously moved to the stage area. Knowing they could not even come close to that incredible energy and style, they nonetheless gave their own “best performance” full of the smiles and the joy that they feel when drumming and dancing. It worked. After only  a minute, the Ghanaian kids were cheering and encouraging our kids on, THRILLED that these kids form Canada were interested and skilled enough to “try” which made the performance even BETTER. Could not have asked for a better exchange. The drum and dance was followed by a funny and moral tale by the Theatre group, written by their director Martin Legend (is that a great name or what?), an inspirational leader for these young people in one of the poorest areas of Accra. During a break in the program, we were able to present Martin Legend and Joana Felih with bags of donations of paper, pens, pencils, backpacks (which went to the performers) shoes and clothing for young children books for the various libraries and a cash donation of $775 USD for the cultural group. It was a pretty special afternoon for sure and a nice way to send us back to Canada, after an amazing trip.

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