Monday, January 4, 2010

In Kumasi... what a difference!

Well, we bid some sweet goodbyes to our friends in the Volta Region after a VERY amazing final performance of the pieces the students have learned while in Kopeyia. I am so proud of them - they did well, and we'll be sure to post some video when we get home. I'm sure you'll hear some stories from the students about that experience soon, as soon as they are finished settling in somewhat in their home stays.

On the morning of January 2nd we boarded a private bus (the state bus was severely delayed) and went straight to Kumasi. It was about a 8 hour total drive, with a break somewhere in the middle, and we were all glad to arrive finally at the Stadium Hotel, near the football stadium. We had a quick meeting with the home stay coordinator and then each student went off with their families. Sunday was a rest day for all - I am staying at Agya Koo Nimo's house, a very famous palmwine musician who is much loved here in Ghana. I think I must have slept about 3 hours in the afternoon yesterday, and another 10 overnight, and feel much better today.

Today we met and checked in about our various families and how things are going. From there my friend Sami took us to the Kumasi market - the biggest open market in West Africa - to buy some bells that I've been wanting for about 10 years. A few of the group managed to keep up with his run/walk through the chaos, and others branched off to do their own thing. You haven't experienced chaos and true West African market culture until you've been in that maze - so fun!

So now we are catching up a bit - Tyler, Brian and Sean are with me - and then after some food they will head off home and I'll go back for a music lesson with Sami. Tomorrow we will be visiting the village of Foase, where I did some of my M.A. thesis research many years ago, to greet the women who helped me and see how they are. It also gives a chance for some of those students to see a non-urban Asante setting, which is very different. Then some music lessons in the afternoon for those interested, and on Wednesday a concert by Koo Nimo for the homestay families.

Wishing all of you a good new year! More soon...

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