Friday, October 12, 2012


Grand Rapids is a sister city of Ga District, and the town of Adenkrebi is in Ga District.
Through this connection, the Calvin program developed a relationship with Adenkrebi, which
is why our students spend one week there (see the last post).
When Don De Graaf, Calvin's Off-Campus Programs director, visited a couple week ago,
we were expected to pay a call on the chief of Adenkrebi, which of course we did.
About a week later, on the day Don was to return to the US, chief Nana Nkama III 
paid us a return visit in my flat.

Here are a few pictures

Chief Nana Nkama II made a gift to me of this kente stole.
Gift giving in any culture is a fine art, and not easily learned or practiced.
I'm sure we are not very gifted ourselves in the art of giving and receiving in Ghana,
but we did as well as we could.
Notice the gold necklace and bracelet.  Yes, the gold is real!

The chief and his wife also presented Don (and Calvin College) with
a stool, which  in Ghana is the equivalent of a throne.  It is the symbol of authority.
Interestingly, the chief's wife is not the queen.  The woman with the title of
queen mother is selected independently.  The chief's wife is still
important, but she is not considered royalty.
The fellow with the staff is the chief's linguist.  Protocol does not
allow one to talk directly to the chief.  Instead, you talk to the linguist,
who then transmits your message to the chief.  When the chief responds,
the linguist conveys the message to you, and so it continues.

The stool up close.  Don managed to get the stool into his
luggage and brought it back to Calvin.

As the event unfolded, we were pretty glad we had thought to make
a gift to the chief (and thus, to Akenkrebi) too.
 It was just boring money, but we hope it is nevertheless appreciated.
The chief's wife did us the honor of receiving it.

And yes, the stool did make it back to Calvin.  Here is Don De Graaf
along with two former (and future) directors of the Ghana program,
David Hoekema and Stephanie Sandberg (on the ends),
and also Calvin's new president, Michael LeRoy,
who officially received the stool on behalf of Calvin.
When you get into a relationship like this, things can happen
that you're not expecting.  At the close of our  meeting, the chief surprised us
by saying he'd talked it over with the elders of the community and they
have decided to give us an acre of land in the community to do with as we please.
So, what do we please?  We'll have to work on that one.
Here's another interesting point.  You may wonder if the chief just sits around
all day on his stool admiring his fine robe and gold chains.  Nope!  In his civilian
life, he owns and operates an electronics store.  He dresses like this only for 
ceremonial functions, like visiting Rolando!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Writing comments on this thing is not an easy task. Your pictures and entries are fascinating! I love to learn about what makes other people tick!