(Editor’s Note: The Brotherhood/Sister Sol, a non-profit organization based in Harlem, New York, is bringing a group of New York’s youth to Ghana for the summer. In this edition, two members of Bro/Sis pen their thoughts on traveling to Accra and Wusuta in Ghana!)
My experience so far in Ghana has been an unbelievable one. I haven’t felt so relaxed and free in a while. The people here are very nice and even though the markets are pretty hectic with hawkers, you can find a lot of great deals through bargaining. In Accra, I saw and went to the Dr. W.E.B. DuBois memorial and the Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park.
When I went to Wusuta, it felt like I went back in time and into my parents shoes who lived in the rural areas of the Dominican Republic during the 1960s and 1970s. It was so different to live in a rural area (Wusuta) in comparison to an urban area (Accra) where you have many resources around you. In Kumasi, we visited many museums and cultural centers. I know I’m going to continue to enjoy my stay in Ghana. I can’t wait to see what happens when we get to Cape Coast.
– by Alberto Alcantara. Alberto is a rising senior at Mott Hall High School. He is a member of the Brotherhood Rites of Passage program and the Liberation Program for youth activists.
When I accepted into the International Study Program at Bro/Sis, my mission was to share my culture with Ghanaians as well as learn about their culture and past. When I first got arrived in Ghana, it looked and felt different from the negative thoughts other people tried to plant in my head and more like what Bro/Sis taught me it would be like. Instead of destruction and mischief, I saw smooth red roads and smiles. I have been experiencing a way of life that I didn’t appreciate at first. The first place we lived in was Accra and we stayed at the University of Legon. There, I had the opportunity to meet a professor named Kodzo and his assistant, Ben, who accompanied us throughout the trip. Ben was also known as Kofi (which means you were born on Friday). We participated in and developed workshops that helped us better understand the life of Ghana. Through these workshops, I was able to get to know my group members better. The workshops have been a big factor in helping me with my speech and presentation in front of people. In Accra, we visited art stores, historical sites such as the home of W.E.B. DuBois, Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, and other sacred sights.
Our next stop was a small community of in the Volta region called Wusuta. For me, it is the “Home of Dancing.” I never danced so much in my life. We had a welcome party as well as a farewell party. People welcomed us with love and dancing and songs all the time. Most of the homes in the village are literally made of wood, mud, and stone. Many did not have consistent electricity (and even where we stayed, the power went out a few times). In Wusuta, we interacted a lot with locals. We observed, asked, and learned about the role of elders, the work of women and men, and the demographics of the village. “Most of you may never see this part of the world again so take it in,” was what I heard throughout the whole stay there. I can’t come to a conclusion as to why people there were so happy living in these conditions. The education system and living conditions are extremely different from Harlem. The saddest part of this trip so far is that I left Wusuta. In Kumasi, home of the Asante, we visited museums and smaller communities including Bonwire (known for Kente) and Ntonso (known for Adinkra stamping). The Thread Foundation hosted a full day of activities in Ntonso, including carving our own Adinkra stamps.
Most people don’t ever get a chance to visit and experience what I have so far. This is no vacation. Being in Ghana has taught me that life is not all about the finer things in quantity but quality. This is a lesson that I wasn’t actually ready to learn but had to learn. What would I have been doing if I stayed in Harlem? Probably drinking and partying. I needed to be in Ghana to expand my horizons in mind, body, and soul . There are certain opportunities that you let pass and some that you don’t. This is one I needed to grab and take for what it’s worth—a life-changing experience.
– by Mary Sade Pruitt. Mary is an incoming college first-year student. She is an alumna of the Sister Sol Rites of Passage program, a graduate of Mott Hall High School and an aspiring veterinarian.