Alright so I have had a really incredible past two days that might take more than this post to explain, but here goes what happened on Wednesday of this week.
My theater for development class had twenty spots open to go to the Volta Region to study Ethnofolk within the area. The University of Ghana students would learn and share their own stories from their ancestry with students at Jaskin Teaching College. Our professor wanted to show how the use of story telling and drama is beneficial in the teaching of children, and how learning such as that can also connect students to one another through history.
It was soooo fantastic, and I was so excited to go, but as with all things in Ghana it became an adventure! I woke up with my friend Caitlin at around 4 20 to walk to the theater department because the bus was leaving at around 5. At 7 we finally left only to get lost and stopped by the police at around 1 pm we reached the school, and were served a large quantity of red red. I was made fun of by the students and by the professor because I could only eat half of the food, while the other students were grabbing seconds…but beans are heavy and I think there was fish there too.
After lunch all twenty of us filed into a large open section of the school where we sat on a stage facing all of the teachers in training. We introduced ourselves stating where we were from, what we were studying and from the request of our guests whether we were , single, dating or married. When each student would announce their relationship status loud claps and shouts would come from our guests. It was hilarious both groups really got into it.
Then our guests did the same, but this time they had to say where they were born and raised and if there is still story telling in that area. It was sad a lot of them spoke of how they had not seen stories being performed since the introduction of cable to their area. Most of them would stand up quietly state where they were from and respond, “no stories, just TV.” It reminded me of my class last year that I took at Agnes where we talked about the introduction of things such as electronics kills certain traditions in areas, and how regions loose parts of their history.
Some of the future teachers did know some stories from when they were young, but explained that the last time they had heard them were in the early 1990’s. Finally, the University of Ghana group and Jaskin College came together to each share one story, where both groups would perform.
I was placed in a group to transcribe both stories, because I do not know any West African folk tales. It was so great, at the beginning of the stories both groups would dance to introduce the story, and sometimes in the middle of a person telling the tale, another group would break out into song when a certain word was said.
After three hours we left Jaskin teaching college and were on our way back to UG. We did not get stopped by the police, but we did stop to get Aboloo, which is grounded maize placed in a banana leaf and served with really small fish that are crispy. It was really good, and it was the same stuff that I ate with Maureen in Benin that we could not think find the name of, but we ate it with something else (I think beans) last time.
Oh, I forgot to tell you, that it was Caitlin’s birthday and that everyone on the bus was playfully threatening to pond her while on the journey. Caitlin luckily avoided being “pond” or sprayed with water and said she had the best 21st birthday ever.
I will write more, there is still a lot more to come
there was still the tradition of story telling from their region