Our most recent addition to the Reading Spots family, the Tease Community Library (or shared education centre) is now open!
The meaning of ‘Tease’ in Twi (the main language in Ghana) is ‘it’s alive’ which is fitting as it was opened the day before Easter Sunday. This project was funded by the combined efforts of Brighton College pupils and parents, the Ashworth Charitable Trust, the Fonthill Foundation, and the Tease community.
The ceremony began with a procession with pupils from the Presbyterian school next door and a brass band down one of the main roads and back again. The pupils led the procession with dancing and waving handkerchiefs, attracting lots of attention from the rest of the village.
When we arrived back at the library, all of the visiting leaders and dignitaries were introduced, followed by the ‘libation’, a tradition where the chiefs and elders share white gin and sprinkle it on the ground. We heard from the local government education representative, who gave an impassioned speech centred around those using the library always leaving with more knowledge. In a musical interlude, many teachers and other local women paraded the grounds, and eventually were joined by pupils.
Excitingly, we had the pleasure of witnessing the pupils performing traditional ‘Azonto’ dancing. The focus here is telling a story of local life and all of us from the U.K. were very intrigued by the cultural display. Slightly less traditional, two students also came to perform a comedy skits which had us all in stitches.
Then came the time for the Brighton College students to express their creativity, performing a Spike Milligan poem as a group complete with sound effects and hand-made posters on sticks, these seemed to catch the eye of many of the young children who were later seen using them for themselves. As well as this, we performed a group dance choreographed by ourselves to ‘Give it up’, which went down well with the audience. While most of the group then sat down to enjoy some time away from the stage, a small group of students and teachers remained to give short speeches on the importance of the library and of reading in general, while being translated into Twi for the younger children. Some of the students from the local school, previously involved in the traditional dance and comedy sketch, then performed a street dance with exceptional energy and talent.
The elders shared some words of wisdom and pledged their support to the library, alongside speeches the representative from the Ghana Education Services and the local children’s health representative in which they promised that teachers on the government payroll would be placed inside the library to manage it in the months ahead.
“This library has come at a good time, as it is now part of the district’s plan to encourage the children to read.” (Kwadwo Addo, Ghana Education Services children’s health representative for the district)
The minute that the library was opened, following a prayer led by the Minister from the Presbyterian church and from the local Iman, it was extremely clear that the community would benefit hugely from its creation. Everyone was extremely keen to start reading straight away with many pupils and adults eagerly looking through the books on the shelves and testing out the newly made furniture.
We were all proud to be part of the Reading Spots project on this day, and look forward to seeing how this community project develops in the months and years ahead.
Oliver Hutchings, Lee Wills and the Brighton College pupil team