I've been back home for three days now, and the 2 1/2 weeks I spent in Ghana seem like a sort of dream. Did I really meet those people? Did I really do those things? Was it really that short? It's a feeling that's impossible to explain, that maybe some of you who've had similar experiences can relate to. On the flip side, everything having to do with my life here in Vermont seems like such a long time ago. Yet here I am, back in the swing, back to work, back home and it's odd. It's not so much reverse culture shock, as I always new America was weird, and I wasn't in Ghana really long enough to totally acclimate. It's more so like something a Brazilian indigenous person once said about flying, that when you fly you travel faster than your soul can travel, and it takes it a wile for it to catch up with you.
It's hard to sum up my experience: how it was, what it was like, what I did. Sometimes I felt really overwhelmed by the whole thing, sometimes I felt really comfortable and at home, sometimes I felt like there was so much to learn and so little time, other times I was unsure why I was even there, a lot of times I just felt tired and sweaty. I met a lot of amazing friends and teachers who taught me a lot about the music, but also about hard work and dedication. A statue of the founder of the Dagbe center reads "Whatever you do, do it well" a statement that really resonates with me now that I come home and try to figure out what's going on as I go forward with my life. Outside of the people themselves, Ewe music never ceases to amaze me, and getting such an up-close and personal look at it only made me want to learn more, not just about it specifically but about indigenous music and culture in general and how it forms and travels and hybridizes and morphs with time. I could certainly go back to Dagbe a hundred times and just be scratching the surface.
The one thing I regret about the trip is there were a lot of times when I didn't feel like I was as present as I could have been. I'm a pretty neurotic person, whose has a lot of inner turmoil especially recently surrounding a number of things. I spent a lot of time in Ghana, as is true in the US, turning over a lot of stuff in my head and being in weird moods. Luckily, there was enough downtime during the trip that I was able to do what I needed to do to recenter myself for the most part without really missing out on anything. The trip even served as an excuse to deal with a lot of these issues and I certainly gained some great insights and learned a lot about myself.
There were also a lot of moments when I felt totally peaceful, and lost in the moment. A few times that jump out to me are the last funeral we attended, the serene afternoon basket weaving sessions, and goofing around at "the spot" with our Ewe friends.
All in all I haven't had much time or brain space to digest the trip, as I've been thrown right back into things here and right back into my old thought patterns and hang ups. But I'm sure as time goes along, and I reflect on the experience more and more, I'll uncover a lot of insights I got from the trip that I have yet to notice. One thing I do feel is thankful for all of the great friendships made and deepened, and everything that people both Ghanaen and American did to make it an amazing experience.