Cliff Valley and St. Andrews

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“Today is my day to paint in bold colors, set today's rhythm with my heart-drum, walk today's march with courage, create today as my celebration of life.~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie

With EP-Ho Class 5B, today the children got to paint in bold colors. They had a blast with the liquid watercolors and the color-diffusing paper sent by their friends at Cliff Valley School in grade 4. Angela worked with them outside the classroom to dip their papers into the colors to create beautiful envelopes. The children thought it was so cool that they snuck in their own paper to dip again, and some were just dipping their fingers in and painting the sidewalk. We caused a mini flash mob of other children who were curious and wanted to play too. All the papers for the envelopes turned out beautifully.

Inside the classroom, the children created cards for their friends in the U.S. They shared images from a variety of Ghanaian holidays. Christmas was overwhelmingly the most popular. The children shared that they often receive new clothes for Christmas, attend church, and enjoy some of their favorite foods with family and friends. Rice, yams, fufu (made from yam paste), and various meats were highlighted as some of the special foods for holidays. They shared that Christmas trees are mostly found in the churches or the middle of the village, not typically in people’s individual homes, and that churches are decorated with flowers, palm branches, and Kente cloth. As with most of the Ghanaian holidays, the Christmas celebrations include lots of singing, dancing, drumming, and praying.

Today we also worked with EP-Ho Class 5A. The children from Saint Andrews School Grade 5/6 Choir sent their Ghanaian friends in Class 5A individual letters and a DVD with multiple songs they sang. The Ghanaian children were mesmerized and glued to the computer screen as they listened to each song. Every row in the classroom picked a song they wanted to sing for their U. S. friends, and we are going back next week to record them. After the songs, each child created a colorful image of their favorite holiday and explained what they enjoyed most about it. The children in Ghana love to draw, especially with bright colors. When they finished their pictures and descriptions of the holidays, they kept asking for more paper to add to their letters. Each child had a wide smile after they saw the finished product made even more colorful with a backing of construction paper in their color of choice.

A few of the letters highlighted the Homowo Festival celebrated in May. This is a harvest festival celebrated in remembrance of a famine many centuries ago. Homo - hunger, wo – hoot, so the name of festival means to hoot at hunger and rejoice in their harvest. When we gather ideas for the holidays, there are a number of Ghanaian festivals that are emerging. We will share more about some of them as we learn more.