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Learn and Serve in Ghana
In 2005 the ALS Department first offered a "Ghana: Learn & Serve" (January Intersession) course initiated and designed by Dr. Kathleen O'Mara. It combined lectures from the director and Ghanaian universities' faculty on oral literatures, art, media, and the history and cultures of Ghana. A longer stay in Cape Coast involved deeper learning about the effects of the European slave trade on Ghana/West Africa, internal resistance, and cultural memory. Study was enhanced by community/village service. Over several years our students helped to renovate a building to create a community library, stock it with donated and purchased books and raise funds for a clinic at Kwabeng, Eastern Region, 2005-10.

A subsequent project involved raising funds and then helping to construct a village clinic in Quigbey, Volta Region in 2011. A long intersession in 2012 became a short term internship for eighteen students who worked at orphanages, a school, TV Africa, a police station, and NGOs delivering HIV outreach and community education. By year four of Learn & Serve other ALS faculty began to accompany Dr. O'Mara on the annual event—Drs. Rob Compton, Ibram Rogers, Caridad Souza, and Betty Wambui—making the Ghana experience a signature event for the ALS Department.

ALS shifted to a full semester 3 s.h. course in 2013, Urban Ghana with Dr. O'Mara which allowed students to study more intensely, effectively conduct individual designed projects, and process material collectively prior and after the Ghana field study. This revision has highlighted urban life and culture with lectures and performance on traditional and High Life music by the renowned Agya Koo Nimo, Ghallywood film/videos by Kwaw Ansah (TV Africa) & Dr. Josh Oduro Frimpong (Ashesi Univ), modern African Art by Mr Ablade Glover (Artists Alliance)and current popular music, Hip Life, etc. by Ghana's famous singer Sherifa Gunu.

Africana & Latino Studies, a field rooted in community service, is expanding our global competencies program, especially enlarging the number of internship offerings in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. In the past three years we have placed students in Accra, Tema, and Cape Coast, Ghana, Cairo, Egypt, and Freetown, Sierra Leone. We will continue this expansion with options in Liberia, South Africa and the Dominican Republic. Placement sites include NGOs - health, orphans, human rights, women's empowerment—as well as schools, parliament, media/TV and film companies, and quasi-government agencies.

For information, contact: Dr. Kathleen O’Mara, Africana & Latino Studies Dept omarakk@oneonta.edu

 
  ©2013 SUNY Oneonta - Department of Africana & Latino Studies