Wow!! All I can say is wow. I’ve never thought in a millions years I would be here. I’ve dreamt many times coming to Africa and being in a continent where my father has once gone to. But it was exactly that, a dream. Now I’m living it. I’m here getting whistled and tsk-tsk at so they can grab my attention if I need a taxi ride. Taking the Tro-Tro to and from the university was an experience, I feel “so close” to people now than I ever had before. Hahaha! I’m like a magnet to guys who want to marry and flirt with. I’m swarmed by kids with smiles on their faces like kids on Christmas morning. I’ve gotten the chance to learn one of Ghana’s native languages, Twi. I love buying something from a store or getting food and saying “Medase,” thank-you, and then seeing them smile and chuckle with gratitude.
One of my fondest moments here is when this past weekend we went to Cape Coast and was offered, along with my fellow companions, to do some dancing and drumming there. I was automatically up for the opportunity. That’s something I will never pass on. We were meeting the first and only Ghanaian woman master drummer. I met Antoinette at the Sammo House where we were staying in. Antoinette gives off that motherly appearance; full of hugs, passion, welcoming, inviting, and warm. We all hopped in her van with 7 of us sitting in the back, back. The ride was a half-hour on a wobbly dirt road and having my insides jump all around like bouncy balls. We pulled up to a two-story grand yellow house. We all got out and were told that the house belonged to her sister. As you walk in, there’s this space among space. Upstairs led to other rooms of space and a pathway to a huge outdoor patio. It was on the patio we watched some drumming and dancing, and then got to dance and try some drumming ourselves. Learning one of Ghana’s dances was amazing. Our dance was connected to a story told many, many centuries about a man kidnapped by dwarves. I believe I was so pumped up and ready to dance that that’s all I remember about the story, hahaha.
It felt so good to dance. Dancing is a way I project more of myself. Through dancing I’m me, I don’t care what people think or how I look because I’m doing what I love. Throughout out my life dancing has been there for my ups and downs. It’s been my escape if school’s been hard or been in conflict with my parents and brother. I put all the emotion I’m feeling and let it out with dancing. It’s my release because suddenly after I dance I forget what I was so upset about.
African dance is something I recently just picked up on. My mother did it years ago and says it was one of her many joys in her life. I started in high school and never stopped…well I I sort of did when I hit college but I’m going back into it. African Dancing is the main dancing style I’m really good at besides hip-hop, tap, and jazz. It’s the only style that I know I’m really good at. So being able to do it here in Africa of all places is treasure I will keep dearly close to my heart.
To my wonderful family who’s supported me on this trip, my mother’s, brother, to Geoff Burgess and his wife Karen who this past Monday just celebrated their 29th anniversary, to Debbie who’s been a rock and a gem through planning this whole trip, to my new Ghanaian family, Papa Attah, Kwakotche, and lastly Kwame. Also to my fellow attendees, you were a great group of people to enjoy this experience with. I couldn’t ask for any better.
Hugs and Kisses to everyone!
by Jessie Lewis