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A Graduation in Ghana and Some Gospel Highlife

As I mentioned in the last post, I was invited to a graduation. It was a private school, well-funded for Ghana, and they put on a ceremony that was essentially western, but with much more music and dance. Several hours of music and dance in fact. Most entertaining was the dance party started by the primary school graduates after the ceremony’s close:

Pay close attention to the boy on the far left. Also watch the girl on the left starting around the 30 second mark.

Primary School Kid in Accra, Ghana

This kid. If he wasn’t so obviously nervous, overwhelmed, and five-years-old, you’d swear this child was drunk. In a stupor he somehow made it to center stage where his pants promptly fell to his ankles. Several teachers and administrators attended to him as he stood starry-eyed.

Primary School Kid in Accra, Ghana

Fully clothed once more, but still completely bewildered, he looked at the award he was receiving as if it was otherworldy. Supposedly, he was valedictorian of his class. I had my doubts.

Primary School Kid in Accra, Ghana

He proceeded to almost fall off the front of the stage before he was escorted into the crowd. He remained disoriented, wandering through the rows aimlessly until someone scooped him up.

Primary school kids graduate in Accra

Notice the three kids on the right of the first row. If a bumbling photographer made me sit in the sun for fifteen minutes in my graduation gown, I’d be pissed too.

link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5CUr4h4FTk

A lot of things I love about Ghana in this video. Some you can’t see. The smell of the ocean, an open-air pavilion in a neighborhood of sandy streets, a breeze flowing through. And of course, music that is beautiful and pure. It is called Gospel Highlife, a genre that pairs highlife rhythms with a chorus singing spirituals. This is a Saturday night rehearsal at the Potters Wheel Sanctuary, a church in the Chokor neighborhood of Accra. Just like certain drugs are chemically calculated to make you feel a certain way, this music is engineered to put a smile on your face. Maybe I can find salvation in a church after all.

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{ 9 comments… add one }

  • McKane August 4, 2010, 11:51 am

    I couldn’t stop laughing looking at the pictures of that poor little boy. Sometimes that smart kids just don’t have a clue! Miss you tons. Will send/post pictures soon! Be good. Love!

  • asia August 10, 2010, 2:11 pm

    Your reports are crazy, I love the Dance Party video and the public transportation one in HD. Are you going to make all your videos HD when you get back? What kinda camera are you using? p.s. I think one can live off of Beer Malt (some nutritional value?), some people use it for diets too because it fills up your stomach and makes you feel full. Sorry it made you feel sick there, Cheers 😀

  • phil August 11, 2010, 11:19 am

    Asia, yeah I’m trying to post HD as I go, but it’s difficult depending on the connection. I’m using a flip HD camera. You are correct about Malta Guinness. It’s still gross though.

  • Dana November 14, 2010, 3:25 pm

    I spent 5 months in Ghana in 1976 – 77 as a college student. I remember Fanta, Guiness, black mamba snakes, the lorry park in central Accra, Nungua, where we lived in the bank training college dorms. There was a great Lebanese restaurant somewhere in Accra that we liked. And the Mandarin for Chinese food. Does the economy still depend on the “small boy” in Ghana? I loved that. And the oranges which were peeled down to the white and then the top lopped off which you would suck the juice out of! Traveling around on lorries or buses we could always buy snacks out of the window of the bus at intermediate stops before our destination – oranges as described, hard-boiled eggs, ground nuts and some donut like thing. Enjoyed your posts!

    • phil November 14, 2010, 5:04 pm

      Hi Dana, it sounds like not too much has changed!! I too am very attached to Ghana. They have a lot of work to do, but they seem to be doing well in some areas. Thanks for your comment, I really enjoyed reading it and having a “back to Ghana” moment while doing so! B well, Phil

  • Katrina December 9, 2010, 8:19 pm

    Bro, I want the song from the dance party video. Do you know what it is/have it in your possession? I will draw as many camels as necessary in order to procure the mp3.

    Love, peace, and camels,

    • phil December 11, 2010, 10:33 am

      Which one? There are two. I have the first one.

  • Theodora May 7, 2011, 3:12 am

    What a sweet thing to see. A very different take on Ghana.

    • phil May 8, 2011, 9:58 am

      Thanks Theodora 🙂

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