New school for West African village
Carbonear drummer realizes dream
Carbonear musician Curtis Andrews is currently in West Africa, where he will attend a “major ceremony to inaugurate” the new three-room school that he helped build.
Andrews has spent some time studying drumming and dance in several villages in Ghana, West Africa and during a previous stay realized the children had to attend classes outside.
As a way of giving back, Andrews returned home and began fundraising through his music.
With help from home, his dream has been realized and last week, he said the school is 99 per cent completed. He also notes another wonderful development for Dzogadze. “For the first time ever, electricity has come to this small village,” Andrews says in an email. “It was supposed to have come some years ago, but due to shortage of electricity poles and some politics, it was delayed until now.”
Andrews actually helped buy some electricity poles for the town with money he earned “performing music I learned in this place.”
The electricity had been installed a few days before he arrived in Dzogadze.
‘Pride and excitement’
“You could feel the pride and excitement around the town,” he says. “From my own house I could see various lights in different compounds and hear different radios playing.” Some households even had TVs. “I asked one elder what he thought as he sat with glee watching a film in his own compound for the first time and he said: it is like Accra!! (The capital of Ghana.)
“There is even a joke going around town that the only difference between Dzogadze and Accra is that Accra has an airport.”
Andrews’ parents, Gerald and Rose, are joined their son in West Africa March 27. They’ll get a chance to see the new school and experience some of what life is like in Ghana.
“Given this project was that off Curtis and not in an affiliation with other national or international organizations, every penny — 100 per cent — went directly into the school whose construction was supervised by one of Curtis’ friends with whom he had developed a great trust,” his beaming mom, Rose, says.
PRE SCHOOL - Two years ago children in Dzogadze, West Africa, went to school outdoors.
HAPPY DANCE - Smiling faces of dancing children inspire Carbonear musician Curtis Andrews.
GIVING THE NAME - Andrews says he was given the name Zowornu kpli tu le asiwo gake kpo nya ge meaning: You have a gun in your hand but someone with a walking stick can still defeat you.“The real meaning is open to interpretation, I suppose,” Andrews muses. “In fact, many names of towns and people here are like that, longer proverbs of some sort, which are usually shortened to one or two words.”
MAMA NUMILGO HOUSE - “Since their own resources were short, they wanted to bestow upon me the blessing of the spirits that protect inhabitants of Dzogadze from disease, maltreatment and general negativity. The first was to Mama Numilgo, a female vodu/spirit, and this was performed in a small round house, which is where the goddess essentially lived,” Andrews explains.
THE BAND - Curtis Andrews has learned much about African drumming, dance, ceremony and life in his travels.
AFTER SCHOOL - Thanks to help from musician Curtis Andrews, the kids now have a three-room school, 99 per cent complete. “Seeing it from a distance did create some feelings I don’t think I have ever had before...maybe this is something like parents feel when they see their newborns or something,” Andrews says. “A sense of achievement I suppose, different than making a record or anything like that.”
SURROUNDED - Curtis Andrews got a warm welcome from children in Dzogadze, so much so, he says, “I forgot to even look at the school.”