The Dancing Village
Should I tell you a story?. That is one of the many ways that a traditional Oral Narrative starts to let you know that a story is about to begin. Yesterday we went to Winneba ( another city in Ghanna) , There in Winneba is a village called Adentem, which means in the middle of things. In this Village ( in the middle of I don't know where) is where the African storyteller was that we were to hear tell stories. This was so fun that no one in our small group wanted to leave. We were told two stories in a language called fante ( all along we have been learning Twi), the Professor had provided an interpreter ( that we preferred not to have), but having the interpreter made the story seem long, drawn-out, and boring. We had no clue (well me) what was being said at first, although what I had observed from the storyteller was all the things that we learned in the class room for the last five weeks.
What I took away from this experience that will greatly help me with American Signed Language is it is all about being expressive, the expression that was used help me to understand the gist of the story and to follow along with the narrator. African storytelling is not like stories we are used to in America, you see these stories are not written down (frozen) or rehearsed so, they are made up as you go along and there is usually song, chants, and dance . Stories are usually told by women and they are the best story tellers, but two men told the stories yesterday and the women were the performers. There is audience participation within the story telling and let me tell you we the small class of seven really got involved.
No matter what country you are in sex is a universal language..???..!!!.. One of the stories had sexual content in it. This old man gets up an leave in the middle of the oral narrative right??.. Wrong he leaves long enough to find the biggest stick that he could find and comes back with the longest and largest erection that I have ever seen in my my life and does a performance with a woman whom he seems to be really giving her the stick and that makes me laugh til I cried. I thought the laughter is over because there is another intermission, which is dancing, drumming, singing, and hand clapping; it aint over people.
A woman comes out and stands in front of one of my class mates she is hold herself and speaking in fante( yeah my class ate turns beet red), He is the one who confiscated her virginity. He says no it wasn't me all cool and confused, she is certain it was him , he denies it, and then she ask him who was it that confiscated it. Matthew than points to Brian my other classmate and says it was him, Brian's eyes widens like he has seen death and say it wasn't me with such conviction and says " it was him I swear it." Brian and Matthew are going back and forth like children bickering it was you no it was you no it was you ETc. I am laughing so hard at this point that I can;t breath, my side hurts and tears a really streaming .
After the performance they ask for two of us to dance and the group choses me and Brian to dance and the Villages seems to be so pleased with our performances, of none of us want to leave when it is time to go. What I forgot to mention is that fact when we arrived at the village they had just had a funeral (this involves dancing) so, they were dancing when we got there. This was the greastes experience ever in my life and I felt as if I was among my family members. I will forever love this village.