Our Guest From Ghana

     There is a boy in my class who came to this school in December from Ghana. He's a smart student. He can speak English and his tribal language. His name is George. He taught us how to say our names in the Twi language.
    We had a Ghanaian visitor named Michael Amppiah who is living in New York City to study at Columbia University. He came to meet us through the Global Classroom program.  George taught us how to say “akwaaba”, which means welcome.  George also told us that when you are born in Ghana everyone who was born on the same day of the week as you gets the same name. There are seven female names and seven male names. George's name is Kweku and my name is Adjoa in Twi.  You can find yours in this chart.

            Birth Day              Female Name              Male Name

            Sunday                      Esi                             Kwesi
            Monday                     Adjoa                         Kojo
            Tuesday                     Abena                        Kobina
            Wednesday                 Ekua                         Kweku
            Thursday                    Yaa                           Yaw
             Friday                        Efua                          Kofi
             Saturday                    Ama                          Kwame

     Before Michael's visit we went on the Internet to find out which day of the week we were born on so George could teach us our Ghanaian names. Go to CalendarHome.com and click on the 10,000 year calendar.

Kofi Annan

    The Secretary General of the United Nations came from Ghana. He was named Kofi because he was born on Friday and Annan because he was his mother's fourth child.  We had learned about Kofi Annan when we made a report about the United Nations Millennium Summit.  It was his idea to ask all of the world leaders to meet here in New York City to try to plan for the future.  He wanted the richer countries to try to help others.  We made a report about this and sent it to him, and Mr. Annan wrote us a very nice letter.  When we gave a copy of our report and the letter with Kofi Annan's signature to Michael, he had a big smile on his face.

    It seems strange that everyone in Ghana has the same name as all of the people who were born on the same day.  But we talked about it and it is really similar to the way we all have the same Zodiac signs.  Michael told us that the names are part of their traditional religion.

    In our country people like to ask you about your Zodiac star sign.  Mine is Leo, the lion. Michael said it made people feel good when they meet people with names they know because it is like they are all from one big family.

     When we started to study about Ghana we saw a lot of pictures of people wearing kente cloth on the Internet.  Kente cloth is popular with African American people too.  The designs are very hard to make because you have to use a loom and weave the different colors and shapes into the cloth.  Michael brought another kind of cloth that also comes from Ghana.  It is called adinkra and it has really great patterns.

      Adinkra cloth is made by using a piece of a gourd that you carve symbols into. Then you dip the gourd into dye and press it on the cloth to stamp the designs on.  Each symbol means something special.  Michael brought a book about it and we found more on the Internet.

 Adinkra Symbols From Ghana

Akoma (the heart)
Have patience. Symbol of patience and endurance.

Sankofa (return and fetch it)
You can always undo your mistakes.

Osrane ne nsoroma (moon and star)
A symbol of faithfulness.

  Hye wo nyhe (the one who burns you be not burned)
Symbol of forgiveness. Turn the other cheek.

    It was a pleasure meeting Michael and I liked learning about Ghana.  George and I wrote a report about the new President.

John Kufuor

“From today, we must learn to smile again, we must learn to appreciate the good in each other and we must feel pride in being Ghanaians.”
“Our greatest enemy is poverty and the battle against poverty starts with reconciling our people.”
"Ghana is open for business  Come in and let's do business.”
(Source:  Africana.com)
     These quotations are from the speech John Kufuor made on January 7, 2001 when he was elected president of Ghana.  Before that Jerry Rawlings had been the leader of the country for over twenty years. Now Ghanaians have voted for John Kufuor to be their new president in a peaceful election.
    It is good that the new president wants to work with everyone to improve his country and help the poor people.  He is wearing a kente cloth robe to keep up the traditions of his county.
George and Taneisha

Links and References

Global Classroom, Metro International

Ghana, (also has Adinkra Symbols, Kente Cloth)

Akan Cloth (more Adinkra and Kente)

Grade 5
Mr. Greenberg, Teacher
Public School 241
976 President Street
Brooklyn, New York 11225 USA