Namo woe no du ve

“Give them way to dance”… and sing. The young dancers, draped in vibrant colorful cloths, file in on the beat of the drums amongst a sea of green uniforms, as the entire school gathers in the dusty, hot schoolyard to greet us and connect us to the heartbeat of their school.  The students, teachers, and even us “yevus” from the U.S., join in the celebration. We spend the better part of the day with our EP Primary friends as we are introduced to each teacher and classroom, and work on scheduling all of the exchanges.

A local dance troupe leader, Mr. Foster, is in the classroom this afternoon, teaching a new dance and song to the kids. Ann & I get our own lesson as well! It is a dance about a grandfather carrying a child into a new community from a very long way and the child is crying from the journey. To appease the child, the grandfather sings and asks those gathered to give them way to dance; in essence a very joyful song and energetic movements! We watch from the sidelines, the honored guests on plastic chairs, our own clothes sticking to our backs, as the beads of sweat rolls down the sides of the children’s faces. But through the thickness in the air, the joy and proud spirit of the children saturates our hearts and we give way to the dance. Mrs. Jennifer Brown, I can’t help but think about the beauty of the story and you bringing your daughter into the world today with the same joy; we honor you today and give her way to dance in this world!

Reluctantly, we leave the schoolyard at the close of the school day, and pass smiling children who politely greet us “Good afternoon Madame’s, how are you?”  Fred, an EP student from P5 excitedly yells “Miss Amy” from across the way and joins us, he smiles brightly and says with pride, “my friend” as he pulls from his school notebook his letter from Nick, a St. Andrew’s student he corresponded with last November. He anxiously inquires when we would be exchanging letters this trip. Next, we pass Courage and Julius, two children now in EP Junior Secondary School, who were with us last winter in the connection with Barnwell Elementary School, exchanging hand- prints in artwork. It is fortuitous to see them as we are working this trip at identifying students from previous exchanges as Leaders to assist us as peer educators in the future; they beam brightly with confidence and poise.

As we set our slow pace home,, down the busy streets I can’t help but feel the growing momentum of the passing year and the impact of the exchanges that have taken place. I find myself in my second home, Ho, VR Ghana, and feel a new comfort in my stride here. I am still filled with the excitement and passion that fueled me in previous visits, and I am also newly filled with an even deeper and steady connection with the amazing group of teachers, students and parents who have now entered each other’s lives through Children Inspiring Hope. I am filled with gratitude.