Friday, October 13, 2006

Jiwani, the U o Guelph and The Masai Fundraiser

The University of Guelph has committed to raising $100000 toward the Lesotho HIV initiative in support of Anne-Marie Zajdlik's campaign. Last night there was a dinner at the UoGuelph's Peter Clark Hall where Alastair Summerlee, the university's president chaired and/or emceed. I can't tell for sure because we (JIWANI) were the entertainment and were mostly engaged in transferring our drums from car to hall, getting dressed and rehearsing to quiet finger drumming in the coat area. The hall was full, bedecked with well dressed ladies and gentlemen and white table cloths on wine. We saw Mayor Kate Quarrie who left right after Anne-Marie's speech, to catch her sleep before the 7am start to her City Council day. She left with apologies, regrets and well wishes. Two years ago, Her ladyship of the Royal City and I sat together during a Girl Guide Award dinner where I performed Ananse stories from Ghana.

This time though she really missed the high energy Jiwani ensemble, performing our vivid and vibrant re-creations of the Koukou, Guinea Fare and Sorsonner dances of Guinea. I also told an Ananse story: How Debt came to Asante (Ashanti). It is quite the story. Did you know that before colonialization there were only two Ashanti words for loans/ debt and after colonialization there were probably five more words created to describe the various manifestations of interest on loans.

Anyway I met Dr Summerlee, personally. Guelph being the kind of place it is, I discovered that his child took piano lessons with my nephews from the same teacher years ago.

People who made donations at the event came out with a designer plant in a brick, each brick signifying the building of something concrete or symbolic. I'm yet to discover what, but this I know: they are building health for someone somewhere.

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