Day 3 | Lord, Ring That Chimin' Bell

Day 3 of the ARP II started in song.  Ysaye Barnwell of the Grammy award winning group, Sweet Honey in the Rock, lead the group in singing spirituals to commemorate our trip back to our ancestral homeland.  There were lots of laughs around the circle when Ysaye broke us into sections.  The warm up exercises had people, including me, challenged.  1...2...3...*clap*...5...6...and then singing the numbers in a particular key.  We learned two songs, "We Are Almost Home" and "Sing to the Power of the Lord Come Down." We were also visited by a expert on local history who gave us information on the culture and people of the north along with information about slave trade there.

Next, we headed to visit the governor of the area.  Members of the delegation gave him gifts, such as books and posters.  The governor gave Ysaye some bound cotton as a gift.

From there, we headed to see La Mido, who is a cultural and political leader in the North.  This visit reminded me a lot of our visit last year with the Sultan. Our visit started with introductions which then went into a surprise wedding between two members of our delegation, the McNairs, who are celebrating 30 years of marriage with this trip.  La Mido and members of his tribe commemorated the vow renewal with a traditional ceremony, which included traditional food (sticky treats).

After a short visit to a museum of artifacts, there was a festival of sorts, a fantasia, which included dancers from 11 different tribes, horsemen (from the Sultan's area), and a comedian. Eric Chinje served as the MC for the event. It was extremely emotional for members of the delegation as they moved amongst the crowds of dancers to meet people from their native tribes.  It reminded me of how I felt last year when we visited the two Bamileke chiefdoms.

Dr. Ysaye Barnwell teaches the delegation a song.
I wasn't sure what a fantasia was before the trip started. What I didn't know was that I had seen one last year when we visited the Sultan.  A fantasia involves skilled horsemen who salute the a fon (chief) with their horse riding skills and raising of swords.  It's like a dance and conversation all at the same time.  Towards the end of our visit, we were able to ride the horses, who are said to be the best in the region.  Eric made an announcement about our group being in the country to reconnect with our roots. The event was then closed out with our group singing "We Are Home" instead of "We Are Almost Home." The audience erupted with applause.

After a trip back to the hotel, we headed for a dinner and for a impromptu wedding reception for two couples celebrating their anniversary.

For more photos, please visit ns2 photography on Facebook

Stefan Lockridge

Crystal meets members of the Massa/Hausa for the first time.

(c) 2011, AtlasFamily.Org Genealogy Research
Photos (c) 2012, ns2 photography


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