I wish you all could have been at our Annual Anansi Meeting this year. It was the best we’ve ever had. Our thirty seven second and third year students were invited with thirty two of them in attendance plus an additional five American high school students. Those five Americans helped make our meeting special as they are wonderful young people who make me proud to be an American. I was introduced to them and the U.S. government exchange program, YES, by my friend, Marnie at Garden Spot in Bellingham, her daughter Jennifer and grandson, Mathew Wilkinson. Because I was carrying some of his mothers cookies, some photos and a jar of peanut butter, I met Mathew in Accra when I returned in early January. He introduced me to the other American students and they all wanted to be involved with volunteer work for Anansi. Thus our theme for this years annual meeting became “Cultural Differences” with groups of our students and one of the Americans in each group creating dramatic productions using specific cultural differences as the subject matter. The dramas weren’t so great, but they all contained wonderful moments and the interaction between the students was inspiring to watch. They dramatized naming ceremonies complete with the agonies of childbirth, educational differences and the meanings of music and dance in both cultures.
Not too far into the meeting the electricity went away which made it necessary to string up battery driven lights in the living room and the hallway and move the dramatic presentations outside. For lunch we served Red Zinger or as we call it in Ghana, Sobolo, made by Mohammed with vegetable pies made by Anansi board member, Cecilia. We also presented each student with An Anansi backpack. All of the above contributed to the success of our 2018 Annual meeting.
Another big reason our meeting worked so well was because of our new Anansi employees. We now have four young energetic people working for Anansi. They, Daniel Osie, Mohammed Inuwa, Lalinatu Ibrahim and Innocent Mensah, did all the organizational and creative work prior to and at the meeting. They talked to the students about their school work, told them about the opportunities they have with Anansi for extra help with their studies during the year and just generally made them feel a part of our wonderful organization. I was the proud mama sitting in the corner. It was great.
P.S. Six of the “YES” exchange students will be participating in our home visits before they return to the U.S. in July. We are looking forward to working with them in this unique way which should expand their experience in Ghana and make the home visit job more palatable for our new Ghanaian managers.