Barbara Biddy’s morning and afternoon classes talked to students at Mate Masie, a school in Ghana. This program was found through CILC and facilitated by O’ia-da International Akoma Ntoso Cultural Center (ANCC) in Newark, which is connecting students in the U.S. and Africa in order to break down barriers of stereo-typing that contribute to cultural misunderstandings. The topic was Stop Bullying through Appreciation Not Tolerance.
Eric Jones, our facilitator from O’ia-da, explained the meaning of the school’s name, Mate Masie. It is an adinkra symbol. The symbol of wisdom, knowledge and prudence. It means “I have kept what I have learned”. More information and pictures of our sessions may be found on the O’ia-da website:
Our students watched a skit about stereotyping performed by the students in Ghana. This performance was followed by a presentation on daily life and culture in Ghana. We also had time to ask questions about how they handle the problem of bullying. We learned that bullying is not a major concern because of their strong sense of community and disapproval of this kind of behavior. A major theme in the discussion centered around the importance of respect.
Both sessions ended with singing and dancing by all to “Express Yourself,” led by Ghana. We send our deepest appreciation to Ghana for sharing their music, culture, and the discussion from which we took away new knowledge and understanding. Many thanks to Eric Jones for organizing and facilitating the video conference.
The goal of O’ai-da and the ANCC is “to teach students to look at similarities first. This will build an appreciation for that person. When a person recognizes an attractive value of the other person, they will focus on that and then the differences will not matter. They may even see what certain differences can benefit them…. Our experiences support the belief that bullying, harassment, aggression and other misbehaviours are much less likely to occur when students are learning to appreciate their culture and cultures around the world as a central part of their curriculum.”