Second annual Ghana Gala provides learning opportunities

On March 25, The Ghana Project hosted its second annual Ghana Gala, which celebrates Ghanaian traditions while encouraging awareness of cross-cultural understanding and cooperation.

Over 200 students packed into the College Union Ballroom for the event. Though many cultural clubs charge admission for their annual dinners, members of The Ghana Project decided to make the Gala free in order to encourage a larger turnout.

Junior and co-President Rejoyce Owusu kicked off the event by encouraging all in attendance to stand up and join her in a "Welcome to Africa" dance.

Osman Alawiye, professor and dean of the School of Education, introduced Eva Tagoe-Darko, a visiting Fulbright Scholar from Ghana. Tagoe-Darko spoke about the learning process: "We expect that by being schooled, you get a deeper understanding of issues - but do we?" she asked. She noted that the more traditional methods of teaching through apprenticeships are in some ways more valuable than the modern educational system that is more focused on degrees and certifications.

Tagoe-Darko also spoke about the value of diversity, employing the use of a metaphor which illustrated that one can play some songs on the piano using only black keys or only white keys, but that the most harmonious melodies use both. Tagoe-Darko then led the room in a Ghanaian chant and sang the words, "Heaven knows how we will get there, but we know we will." She received a standing ovation.

Next, the Ghana dance team showed off their choreography and colorful garments in a dance routine. After dinner, juniors Chernor Barrie and Kerisha Hawthorne narrated a fashion show, which displayed traditional African garb - the models were quite exuberant as they shimmied and danced their way up and down the catwalk.

After the fashion show, members of Dante House performed a skit based on an African fable.

Though faculty fellow of international studies Wes Kennison, the planned final speaker, was unable to make the gala, his brother, adjunct lecturer Glenn McClure, stepped in to build upon Tagoe-Darko's earlier messages. "When I go to other places in the world, I simply cannot take my assumptions with me," he said, praising The Ghana Project for its work. "The distance between Geneseo and Ghana has suddenly gotten shorter."

The Ghana Project was founded by Owusu, senior Jesse Parent and alumnus Ben DeGeorge two years ago. The Project's mission is to promote global awareness and civic engagement with a long-term goal of raising funds to build and sustain a school in Ghana.