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Today was our first full day at Dagbe, and the first thing on the agenda? Breakfast! 

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Today's programming started with a group dance class. Emmanuel introduced us to Gahu and we had a dance class with Odate, with the Dagbe staff on drums.

Max Alphonso '21 writes:
"In my dance class today, I learned the first section of the Gahun dance. It was an interesting experience because I don’t really dance often nor do I engage in musical arts either, but the teachers were really helpful. They made it easier for us by walking the dance through to us in parts at a time and helping us individually if we still messed up. Having this first experience has increased my liking and appreciation of dancing in general."

Right after dance class we split into smaller groups for specialized instruction in Batik, Kente weaving, drumming, basket weaving and Tokoe dance class. 

Cecelia Qiu shares:
"Today I really enjoyed batiking. I like how I customized my design and I like how each pattern can represent different meanings as the instructor explains. The smell of the boiled wax is very strong and different, making me want to throw up, but the process is very fun."

After a lunch of red red, plantains, pineapple and mango, we loaded into Taxis and headed for Denu Market, a bustling center that is open every four days.

Stella Zhu '22 observes:
"The market was crammed with people. We had to squeeze and walk in a straight line as we set off to fabric stores. Smell of dead fish drifted through the air. Flies buzzed and were resting on the dead fish. Small crabs that were half the size of our palms were stacked against each other in a basin" 

The afternoon lesson was a group drumming class where we are learning to play Gahu. 

Emily Pham '20 reflects on her experience in the drum class: 
"A highlight in my afternoon was playing the axatse along with everyone else. I went from having a tough time learning the rhythm, to mastering the tune thanks to repeated practices and patient teachers. not only was I happy with what I had achieved, but also thankful for the welcoming folks that didn't hesitate to lend a helping hand."

After dinner, we were able to meet with local tailors who came to Dagbe. In a few days, we will see what the fabric purchased in Denu will become!

Tomorrow's plan:
More dancing, drumming and design and an evening visit from a traditional storyteller.