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The past two days have been filled with new experiences for everyone on the trip!

Yesterday, we finally arrived to the Dagbe Cultural Institute & Arts Centre located in Kopeyia. 

Anna Martin described the afternoon of our arrival:

“When we got to Dagbe, we were greeted with drums and music – it was one of the best greetings I have ever received.  Afterwards we settled and got ready for the market.  The market was definitely my favorite part of the day.  It was so lively and exciting there was no time to be tired or jetlagged!  Looking at the fish and live crabs next to beautiful textiles and beads, there was no question that we were in a different kind of market than we were used to.  When we got back we then did a very nice religious ceremony (known as a libation ceremony) to honor the ancestors’ spirits and asked for permission to stay and learn.  This was followed by drumming and dancing.”
 
Dancing after the libation ceremony
Ellie Flynn then reflected on our experience touring the surrounding area of Kopeyia.

“Later, we went on a walking tour of the [branches of] Kopeyia.  Each [branch] seemed to be a family that supports and welcomes each other.  It warmed my heart to see that they had found these loving communities.  However, it saddened me to see the barely clothed children with stomachs swollen from hunger.  It breaks my heart that they cannot provide the basic necessities for themselves, especially in such a wonderful community.  It made me realize how much more thankful I should be that I always have a full stomach, a warm bed to sleep in, and clothes to wear.”

A picture of the group during the walking tour of Kopeyia
Today, we started our first set of lessons.  Laura Bertrand described the day:

“Today we had dance class from 9-11 a.m.  We learned the “Gahu”… it was extremely fun but somewhat hard because we moved in ways I’m not used to.  I was soaking wet with sweat by the end...After we went to the beach…We went back to Dagbe and Mensah (one of the instructors) taught us the Gahu song during singing class. I noticed that singing and teaching singing does not focus around notes, specific techniques, theory, or reading music.  It was challenging to learn the song because we couldn’t quite figure out the notes and Mensa didn’t explain them in the way I was used to…In the evening, we went to drumming class from 4-6 p.m. where we learned the names of the instruments and how to play them.  It was somewhat challenging for me because Ghanaian beats isn’t like other music where the instruments’ parts fit perfectly together.  My favorite instrument to play was probably the Sogo drum while my favorite to listen to was the Gankogui (lead bell).”

Our group during our dance lesson, learning to dance Gahu.

Singing with Mensah.
Learning to play the music that accompanies Gahu.
Megan Hrinda described what she experienced during today’s visit to Denu beach.

“We went to the beach and walked around with Wisdom, Elike, Atsupui, and a couple of other Dagbe staff members.  While walking along the beach, we got many stares from people.  The kids playing nearby started singing, “Yevo! Yevo!,” which is the word for ‘white person’ or foreigner… It was adorable.  The boats for fishing were huge and there were a ton of them.  We also took some cute pictures and found some seashells.  Elike found a boat with a Chelsea logo on it and said it was his team.  I decided not to mention that I am an arsenal fan.”

Walking on Denu beach 
Tomorrow we will continue with another day of amazing lessons!  Look forward to our next post to follow in a few days.

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