"Experiencing "Sankofa" through the eyes of Ujamaa men has been the most rewarding takeaway from my trip to West Africa", explained Otis Zanders, President / CEO of Ujamaa Place. Sankofa is a "Twi" word meaning "go back and get it" in the Ghanaian language.
For eight years, Ujamaa has embedded African culture in its programming, along with honoring the sacrifices of our ancestors by providing spiritual strength, determination and courage in our mission to overcome barriers and adversity. The "Ujamaa Journey 2 Ghana Team" has a responsibility to share their Sankofa experience with our Ujamaa family and the communities we serve in the Twin Cities.
The cultural immersion experienced from our interaction with the Ghanaian people was welcoming everywhere Ujamaa men traveled in Ghana. The experience for Ujamaa men can be summed up as culturally rich, empowering, spiritual, emotional and grateful. Please take a moment to experience Ghana through photos taken at all the locations we've visited thus far.
Students from the Ghana Scholarship Fund and the Senchi Ferry School joined us for a special welcome ceremony with the Chiefs in the local Senchi village palace.
Interpreter, Nana Ofei Boadu, patiently and methodically walked through how the Chiefs greet and receive visitors. Next, Ujamaa visited a preschool in Senchi and finished the day at the Senchi library where Nana Boadu gave a special introduction into the history of the Akwamu people.
Ujamaa visited a healthcare center in Senchi Ferry which delivers eighteen babies every month with 2 mid-wives. The healthcare delivery system showed high demand, low resources and lots of love. They have one full-time community nurse and one doctor who makes occasional visits with a registered nurse to all the towns and villages in the region.
The next day, Ujamaa visited the Adomi Bridge, which crosses over the world's largest man-made lake, named Volta and then toured Akwamuman High School with the Headmaster and two top Administrators, who were extremely welcoming on our unannounced stop.
Official visit to the palace to meet King Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III
Nana Boadu presented Ujamaa men with a new bracelet and the women with necklaces, matching bracelets and earrings before departing. Upon arrival to the Palace, a guided tour of the museum with the King's Curator/Historian spoke of the captivating history of the Akwamu State dating back to the 1200s. Meeting King Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III was memorable because of his warmth and genuine hospitality. He has been King for eight years. Ujamaa Education Director, Richard Terrell had the honor of introducing Ujamaa Place and presenting the gifts prepared for the King. The King instantly fell in love with Ujamaa after Richard's powerful introduction.
The King was fascinated with the Ujamaa name and mission. In a powerful request, he asked how he could join us. After being informed the age restriction, two Ujamaa Board Members, Dr. Tyner and Rev. Judith Ragir, officially accepted him as an honorary Ujamaa Man. We now have a King on the Ujamaa team.
Cape Coast Slave Castles There were over 40 slave castles built along the West coast of Africa. The two castles toured were Elmina Castle and Cape Coast Castle. Confronting the tragic history of slavery from its origins in Africa was the most painful experience for Ujamaa in Cape Coast. The transatlantic slave trade spanned four centuries and has transgenerational trauma that has yet to be reconciled today.
Accra Ujamaa toured the W.E.B. Dubois museum, where Dr. Dubois lived for two years before he passed away. He is laid to rest in a mausoleum built next to the museum. President Kwame Nkrumah commissioned him to develop the African encyclopedia, Africana.
Ujamaa then visited the museum dedicated to the late President Kwame Nkrumah paying tribute to a great leader whose life and legacy will be remembered as moving the country of Ghana forward in education, economic growth and technological innovation, which will serve as a motivation for future generations to continue to build economic and education stability in Ghana. Ghana received its independence from Great Britain on March 6, 1957. It took three years for Great Britain to transfer its ruling of Ghana to its newly elected President Kwame Nkrumah.
Ujamaa Place is grateful to everyone who supported the Ujamaa Place “Journey2Africa Education Fund.” Special thanks to Dr. Tyner and Monica Habia for a meticulously planned educational and cultural experience in Ghana.
Please support the 5th Annual Ujamaa Place Celebrating Every Step Forward Breakfast by sponsoring a Theory of Transformation Program. Click here for details.
We appreciate your love and support of the Ujamaa mission.