Discovering Ghana: Heart and Soul – 2009 Ghana Field School
By: Mina Tabei
I will never forget the tear filled eyes of my two sponsored children when I looked back and waved goodbye. Emma and Emmanuella became my heart and soul in Ghana. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of Africa and what this continent did for me.
Last year, I challenged myself to go beyond my comfort zone and travel to Ghana as part of the Contemporary Arts Field School Program. There were many aspects of Africa, specifically Ghana, that appealed to me.The tortured history, burden of the past and current political and economic stability made me curious, but I knew there was more to Africa than poverty, disease, corruption and war. I wanted to experience Africa’s complexity with my own eyes and soak up the culture. The opportunity to go to Ghana came to me when I stumbled upon a 2009 Ghana Field School Program poster. I had recently begun researching and raising funds for an organization dedicated to rescuing child slaves from the fishing industry in Eastern Ghana. When I saw the poster, it became abundantly clear to me that I should take advantage of this great opportunity. Without hesitation, I pursued the opportunity and applied for the program.
The touchstone of my character lies within my experiences. I will be digesting these experiences, studying in and travelling throughout the different regions of Ghana for years to come. My experiences were exhilarating as we learned about Ghana’s beauty, rich history and culture. We learned how to play different African instruments and different traditional dances; I can still feel the rhythms coursing through my body and soul. Furthermore, I learned more about the deep culture, old societies and spiritual power that lay beneath the surface of Ghana and witnessed the people rise above conditions that would break most of us.
During the two months, I maintained relations with many individuals ranging from local teachers, ministers, market women to rescued child slaves. I strongly suggest any of the SFU International Field School Programs to anyone who wants to have an uplifting and life changing experience. I have gained great personal independence through travelling, and experienced different cultures which in turn helped me appreciate differences that make people unique. Participating in the Ghana Field School Program was the best decision I have made and was the perfect way to finish my studies at SFU