"This summer, I traveled to Ghana for one month to study the significance of Adinkra symbols in Ghanaian culture. I also volunteered with students at Bantuma School to create a book of their personal stories that relate to the universal values associated with Adinkra symbols. These symbols, which represent proverbs and values, are an integral component of Ghanaian identity and culture. My goal was to deepen the connection between my students and Bantuma students through a collaborative book project on Adinkra symbols.
I began my fellowship in Ntonso, Ghana to study the history and ancient art of Adinkra printing with David Boamah, the director of the Adinkra Village. I had the opportunity to carve the symbols onto calabash, pound the bark from the Badie Tree to prepare the dye, and print my own Adinkra cloth. For the next three weeks, I worked with 60 students at Bantuma School and Christ Cares School as they authored and illustrated beautiful books on Adinkra and how these symbols impact their lives. Through these stories, I came to understand so much about their struggles, hopes and dreams.
I now have 60 personal stories written by my Ghanaian students on how the values associated with Adinkra have impacted their lives. I also brought back 25 hand-carved Adinkra stamps made from calabash to be used for the Adinkra lessons with my students, who are beginning to write their own personal narratives on Adinkra to share with their Ghanaian friends and on an international book club website, bookclub.realelibrary.com. I will present an Adinkra workshop at the online Global Education Conference in November and at the Museum of African Diaspora (MOAD) in December. My fellowship also impacts our school community. The African Friendship Club at my school will receive pen pal letters and necklaces made by the Ghanaian students with whom I worked, and we will raise funds for Bantuma School. I will teach a class on Adinkra in our after school program.”
Sue Gonzalez, teacher at Taylor Elementary in San Francisco, designed her Fund for Teachers fellowship to study the Adinkra symbols with an expert in Ntonso, Ghana, and then volunteer with a sister school in Elmina to create an illustrated Adinkra book that presents universal values and shared perspectives of Ghanian peers.