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Dance Diaspora Trip to The Gambia 2012

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Dance Diaspora Trip to The Gambia 2012

  1. 1. Winter Term in Gambia Vanessa Champagne
  2. 2. Jetlag is an understatement! For two weeks I lived in Banjul, Gambia with Professor Adenike Sharpley and three other members of Dance Diaspora.
  3. 3. I studied small aspects of Gambian culture through observation, interaction, and conversations with the residents of Kotu, Banjul.
  4. 4. All of the sources I read from about the Gambia to prepare for the trip spoke of only 6 tribes in the Gambia. On this trip, I learned of 10: the Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, Jola, Sarahuli, Aku, Sere, Manjago, Bananda, and Owsa. The
  5. 5. We studied dance and rhythms with Kumba and Sene Jaila, members of a family troupe called Nimba. My teachers belonged to the Owsa tribe and are SouSous, originally from Guinea.
  6. 6. The off-days On the days we did not have class, we traveled to the Birikama Wood Market and Baka Batik Market where we got to observe master carvers and batik makers at work.
  7. 7. James Island, Albreda Aslave fort where African captives from the West cost were held before the Atlantic voyage. We were told a story that after the slave trade was outlawed the fort’s officials told the prisoners that if they could swim to shore they would be freed. Weak from poor nourishment and mistreatment, many of the prisoners who took the challenge drowned in the water. The ones that made it to shore were killed.
  8. 8. The shore is home to a monument on which “Slavery, Never Again!” is written. It is a statue of an open armed body wearing broken shackles.
  9. 9. Juffure, Gambia We met the only female mayor in the Gambia, and visited the descendants of Kunta Kinteh in Juffure.
  10. 10. The family is sustained primarily through tourism and interactions with people who travel to Juffure as part of the Roots Festival, which takes place every 2 years. Therefore the family struggles financially. Alex Haley promised to help the family but did not keep his word. Professor Sharpley brought rice and gave it to the eldest member of the family-- who was so overwhelmed with joy that she prayed for each one of us.
  11. 11. “This trip will be life changing!” Its truly was.

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