New school for West African vil­lage

Carbonear drum­mer re­al­izes dream

The Compass - - TRINITY SOUTH - BY LIL­LIAN SIM­MONS

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.

Pho­tos sub­mit­ted

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.”

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