Meeting the Elders

On Thursday morning the team met with the village Elders. It is Ghanian custom whenever someone comes to visit the village, they must be officially welcomed by the Elders. Derrick went over some of the ritual before we met with them — we individually go around and shake everyone’s hands. The Elders will say, “Akwabaa” (you are welcome) and/or “Wohotesen” (formal: how are you). Our response was either “mehoye”/eye” (formal and informal: I am fine) or “medase” (thank you). Unfortunately none of us brought our cameras because we did not want to be rude, so I will try my best to describe the set up.

We walked over from our house to the building. There were about ten Elders all sitting on brown leather couches outside. There were only two women of all the Elders. They were clad in multicolored fabrics draped around their bodies. They both wore head scarves. The men all wore dark pieces of fabric draped in toga fashion. All wore khaki shorts underneath. There was the Judge, 2 Queen Mothers, 3 Opinion Leaders, the Head of Youth and his assistant, and the Defense Minister and his assistant. Throughout the entire ceremony all of their phones were going off. Some of the Elders tried to hide their phones while they looked at their missed calls and texts. It made me laugh to learn that mobile phones interrupt everything, even in Ghana!

When we walked in we all said hello. While we sat, Derrick introduced each Elder. We then stood up individually and introduced ourselves. After our introductions, Paul stated the mission of Global Outreach and Leila stated our team’s mission. One of the Elders then shared Worawora’s history. The word Worawora means “long-long journey.” The people of Worawora traveled from the Assanti region. They migrated in 1732 because of a dispute between the Royal sisters. They finally settled on the present site in 1895. Derek translated everything in Twi. We then poured libations of Schnapps. Since the GO! program does not allow the team to drink during the project, we were told to pour the Schnapps into the earth. Some of the elders did not drink and did the same. I could not imagine drinking at 8am anyway.

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