Archive for December, 2006

Christmas Carol Event

December 14, 2006

The ideal of the Christmas carols was mooted by hardworking Sebastian Lindstrom, the chairman of board of directors of Light for Children. It took place at the premises of Yaa Achiaa Girls Junior Secondary school in Kumasi on the 14th of December. In all 3 groups from the school took part, namely the school choir, the school choreography group and the school cultural troupe.

The programme was interspersed with thought-provoking poetry recitals which highlighted in the plight of the orphans and street children. Moreover a team from the local teaching hospital (Kath) which included 6 people who were HIV positive made a presentation on HIV/AIDS.

The school cultural troupe treated the audience with very nice cultural dances from almost all big tribes in the country. The school choir also thrilled the audience with melodic and scintillating choral music which kept the audience all standing on their feet. Sebastian taught the choir a south African song called ‘awimbawe’ which they sang to perfection and it drew cheers from the audience.

The choreography group were delight to watch. They danced to popular gospel music from south Africa and Ghana with admiration. Infact, they endeared them self so much to the audience that they had a standing ovation from some of the foreign volunteers who were present.

There were 3 poetry recitals. 2 in english and the other in the local language. The climax of the programme came when the volunteers under the instruction of Mike (programme co-ordinator) sang a song which gave commendations to the school for accepting to host the programme. The song was hurriedly composed by Mike:

REMEMBER YAA ACHIAA O LORD(2X)
WHEN YOU COME TO SELECT YOUR PEOPLE
REMEMBER YAA ACHIAA
REMEMBER YAA ACHIAA!!
WHEN YOU COME TO SELECT YOUR PEOPLE

The leader of the medical team from the hospital gave a chilling statistics on the AIDS situation in the city. The solemn tme came when someone of the people living with HIV narrated how she contracted HIV. This sent chills to some of the audience most of whom have never seen HIV positive persons before (apart from television).

 

After the programme, all the audience were invited to the school assembly hall where they were served a snack, which was sponsored by Life for Children (LIFOC). In all over 300 people composed, of children from 3 school (mostly from Yaa Achiaa Girls school), parents, 7 foreign volunteers, teachers and others.

World Aids Day in Ashanti-region

December 8, 2006

On the 8th of December Ashanti region celebrated world AIDS day. It was postponed one week due to the clash with the real world AIDS day and the Ghanaian farmer’s day celebrations!

The event was held in a small town called Femina (1 hour from Kumasi). The fact that we where 2 hours late didn’t really matter; the event that would start at 8 started at 10:30! African time is the best time, you’re never late!

School kids and officials filled a big football field. I estimate that +1000 people jointed in on the festival! Me and Kate, Canadian social worker, together with two Japanese volunteers where the only foreigners attending. Drumming, speeches by Aids commission people and chairman addresses where mixed with AID prevention sketches. People where really enjoying themselves in the heat! Every year the World AIDS day have a different theme –this time it was ‘Stop Aids, Keep the promise, the time is now ’. Condoms where distributed amongst the crowd and people felt unity.

Conclusion; The event was very successful and I really felt that the Ghanaians have come a long way with their HIV/AIDS policies and strategies to fight the pandemic. Ghana has a 3% HIV prevalence rate compared to Botswana and Swaziland where 40% of the people are HIV positive. South Africa with its big population has a 20% HIV prevalence rate. Ghana has come a long way.

Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly’s yearly Carol Festival for Schools

December 7, 2006

Background info: The NGO is preparing a sponsorship of a Christmas graduation party for one of the girl schools in Kumasi on the 14th of December. During the planning of this event together with Yaa Achiaa M.A Girls J.S.S management we got the invite to the yearly Carol Festival.

The actual event: Exited as I was I managed to get to the church by 8:20. (Travel time was only 25 minutes, normally the same route would take me 1 hour, morning rush is the worst rush!) According to the programme of the event ‘arrival of schools and guests’ should be taken place at 7.30. At 8.20 only one choir had arrived and the spectator number was a smashing amount of three! Time and Ghanaian lifestyle does not go hand in hand. Quarter after 9 most school choirs had showed up and the event could move forward.

In total 9 downtown Kumasi school’s had sent their choirs to this event. After the opening prayer and introduction of chairman + response the carols could finally begin. Every time a non-Ghanaian Christmas song was performed by a choir a big hurray was acknowledged throughout the church. When one choir started singing ‘Gloooria’ the yelling and shouting didn’t stop until the chairperson stepped in and asked for silence. Between every choir performance the crowd could enjoy bible readings, example Luke 1:26-32, performed by school children.

After two hours of carol’s suddenly the whole crowd starts moving around in the church. The Movements becomes dancing and the dancing turns into a combo of both dancing to singing. I then decided to join the dancing crowd and I quickly received applauds for my interaction!

Two hours become three and the singing, drumming, dancing and theatre performances will soon be over. Unfortunately I and Yaw needed to rush of before closure for our second appointment of the day.

Conclusion of the event; music make people feel alive. If you feel alive you are usually happy and happiness seemed to be the theme amongst all of the choirs.