Blog #3 -The Sankofa Center(May 18th 2015)
Our two outreaches this week both went well but were very different crowds. On Tuesday we performed in a parking lot, and at first not many people were watching, but after a while the drums drew in a big crowd. Sadly, we didn’t get many people tested because everyone was very afraid — both of the testing and of the result, I imagine. Still, I could see that we’d started a conversation and I hope that everyone there will consider getting tested after seeing our presentation. On Thursday, I played with the kids at the compound and then I had my last outreach, which was in a beautiful village where the Sankofa Center had performed before. The village was high up in the mountains, and we were surrounded by a sea of green. The community was very welcoming, and we performed most of the dances and songs I’ve learned. We got many more people tested than on Tuesday. The view on the way back, as it was getting dark, was so gorgeous. Saying goodbye to all the dancers and drummers was really hard. I hugged them all and took pictures with them, and told them I’d be spreading the word about this organization. I’ll definitely be recommending the Sankofa Center to anyone looking for a unique and rewarding volunteer experience in a beautiful and welcoming country, especially if they are interested in making a difference through the arts.
On Friday, Aaron took me to the Kwame Nkrumah Museum, which was really interesting. He was the first prime minister of Ghana and wrote a lot of books on uniting Africa and bringing people together to create peace. We got to see his car and the tombs of both him and his wife. After that we checked out a market, where I bought some locally-made jewellery and a painting of a rural village — I bought the latter because it looks like one of the villages we performed in. We then went to the Accra Mall, where we had supper and watched a movie. We ate at a place called Chicken Inn, which is your average fast food chain except that I noticed the pieces of chicken in our burgers were actual chunks of chicken. They were not molded to fit the bun; they were natural, and thus tasted better to me than the chicken burgers at home. I feel like everything here is more genuine — the people, the food, the surroundings. The people are genuinely kind and caring; the food is pure, and one type of food – such as plantains – can make a huge number of different dishes; the surroundings are natural. One thing I’ve noticed here is that women openly breastfeed in public without any shame, while in Canada I’ve become used to seeing women hiding their breasts while breastfeeding, and looking embarrassed.
On Saturday, I got to try pounding dough for making FuFu, which is made of cassava and plantains. It’s pretty hard work! We also went to a club in Accra, which was a lot of fun, and I got to try Ghanaian cider. On Sunday, before I left, we checked out Labadi Beach. It was really lovely. I’m sure going to miss warm ocean water!
I’m really sad to leave and I hope to return as soon as I can. I’ve developed a real connection to this place and the people here, and I’m so glad I chose the Sankofa Center for my volunteer abroad experience.