The ritual of leave-taking has begun, as the first of the 50 plus beautiful souls who gathered in Ghana for two weeks begin their trips to the airport. Our practice of counting off our numbers on the bus had too many gaps to be useful as we headed from the town of Ho back to Accra.
When we got off the bus at the MJ Grande Hotel, here we were again, the same people that first gathered two weeks ago in the same spot. But yet not the same. I believe each and every one of us were transformed, not only having moved from strangers to friends, but having lived through the intensity, delight and profundity of our Orff-Afrique experience. Our bodies were different, re-configured and re-coordinated and toned by our daily dance. Our minds were different, having soared far beyond the media-soaked stories we arrived with and enlarged a hundred times over. Our hearts were different, having been opened and touched and embraced by children and adults of all national origins, colors, classes and all those convenient identities that too often seek to separate us and now had been taken down to the simple fact of shared humanity. Our spirits were different, lifted up into the world of vision and hope and new determinations to be our better selves and pass it on to the children we teach. On the surface, we were all the same people as before, but inside, we all knew better.
In short, we returned to where we began with our hearts full of hope, our heads full of songs and stories, our hands full of patterned music, our bodies full with cool new dance moves and our spirits lifted up. Now a summer ahead to let it all settle, to absorb and digest and feel it enter our molecular structure and our memory synapses to become an indelible part of our new selves. And then the children arrive again and we will meet them with new eyes because of what we have done together here. People, “professional development” doesn’t get any better than that.
In about 30 minutes, the big bus will take away most of us, a few stragglers hanging on for another day or so. Safe travels to my most marvelous companions, Akpe to Ghana and on we go.