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Home Away From Home in Ghana

Tiana Moorer took a break from her studies of mathematics and chemistry at Berea College to embark on a summer adventure in Ghana, learning traditional dances and gyil (Ghanaian xylophone) as part of PAA’s Dance Training in Ghana program.

Being that I am a STEM major, I did not think I would ever have the time to study abroad during my undergraduate experience. However, I was able to study abroad twice for free thanks to the Gilman Scholarship and Sloane Shelton Arts and Humanities scholarship. One of those trips was to the Dagara Music and Arts Center (DMC) in Medie, Ghana. In May of 2019, I finished my finals for school and days later I was on a plane to another country. Although I had traveled alone internationally before, I was still nervous and did not know what to expect. This feeling quickly changed within the first couple of days. Everyone was very friendly and made sure I felt welcomed. The teachers were so supportive and encouraging as I learned the material.

Although I visited to learn the traditional dances, the experience of learning how to play an instrument was special. I had not played an instrument since the 8th grade and here I was 8 years later learning how to play the Ghanaian xylophone (Gyil). It was the first time I had learned how to play the music I was dancing to. The dances were so powerful and gave me butterflies. Every time I heard the djembe, I could not stay still. The power behind the drums gave me an unexplainable feeling. The staff at the center took me into the city to visit different places and Cape Coast. While the visit to the slave castles in Cape Coast took me back to my AP U.S History class in high school, it also inspired me to make a change. My experience in Ghana made me more grateful for the things I take for granted. Performing Arts Abroad helped significantly in making this trip possible. I believe home does not have to be a specific neighborhood or city. Home is wherever you find yourself at peace and feel like those around you are your family. I am proud to say I found a home (DMC) away from home (Alabama).

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