Inspiration Schoolhouse Project
After leaving Liberia and before returning to the U.S., I traveled to Guinea. I traveled to Guinea to support and study under a Guinean teacher, Fode Lavia Camara, who resides in the U.S. He was back home in Guinea to host a festival created to honor his father, the highest elder of his community, the ancestors, and cultural traditions of Guinea. While there, after having been away from home for so long, Fode learned that a lot had changed since the time he grew up in Guinea. Many of the Guinean masters of West African drum and dance had left to perform and teach in the Western world, relying on their successes abroad to support their families back home. However, this left very few teachers to pass on traditional culture to the local youth. We knew something had to be done and this is how the forth program, Bayiby Cultural Arts Academy, became part of the Inspiration Schoolhouse Project. The Bayiby Cultural Arts Academy will be the first school of its kind, intended to bring together the best Guinean instructors, locally and from abroad, to pass on the historical knowledge and cultural traditions of Guinea and West Africa. This school promises to be a cultural hub where local children and young adults can study at little to no cost; bringing the international and local community together to preserve the rich musical, artistic, and oral traditions and histories of the people of West Africa. The team of directors for the academy is already working with many well-known artists and instructors who are excited and grateful to be a part of this vital program. Together, we are developing programs of study to help local Guineans. However, a designated place of study is essential to this program’s success and endurance.
The Inspiration Schoolhouse Project has already helped three organizations either get started or regain footing and now we need to help this next school get off the ground. The ultimate goal of this program is to give schools the assistance they need to become self-sustainable and we want the Inspiration Schoolhouse Project to grow to be a part of many more struggling communities around the world. That is why we do not just provide financial assistance, but we also provide assistance with school supplies and teacher and administrative training as well. Current funds raised will be utilized for our work in Guinea, providing support for the construction of the Bayiby Cultural Arts Academy.
We ask you to please donate to the Inspiration Schoolhouse Program so we can continue to grow and help schools around the world. No donation is too small and every dollar is appreciated! If you have non-monetary items you would like to donate, such as books, school supplies, and computers, you can also contact us using the information on our website at international-inspiration.org/contact. Thank you for your support!
Thank you to all who continue to support our project. Please spread the word to help us keep construction going!
Donate today here on our GFM page!
On Thursday, Dakino also undertook the task of purchasing the all white sacrificial ram for the blessing of the land. Being a part of those prayers and the blessing was powerful. As a foreigner to the experience of animal sacrifice, it was extremely emotional. The anticipation of that moment was intense. I wasn’t sure how I would feel when the time came. It wasn’t easy for me, but I can say that I felt a unique connection to the land, the ram, all those who we are working with and prayed together with in that moment. It was very humbling.
To my amazement, the minute the blessing ceremony was done, the construction workers got right to it and the first drops of cement were poured. So much progress was made in just that one evening. Even more beautiful was that Thursday night we were joined by Greg Jones, Jean M Solomon-Candelario and Cande Candelario. It meant a lot to share our meal made with the meat of our sacrificial ram with fellow members of our American drumming community as well as our close friends and family in Guinea.
There is so much more to share about our progress and our 3rd annual KALOUM DJEMBE festival that took place the following Friday and Saturday. Stay tuned! Pictures of the land will be posted on www.facebook.com/international.inspiration.1. If you want to see photos from the land blessing ceremony, visit www.international-inspiration.org. They will be posted in a few days.
There is still so much work to do. Forrest, Fode, all the locally employed workers building on our land, the local materials suppliers and I are all thankful for the financial support everyone has provided so far. Please join those who have already donated and support our cause here on GoFundMe or via our ‘fee free’ donations link at https://www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/1969603
While they were out, the rest of us stayed to receive the sand and blocks for the wall foundation. After that, we joined Fode A. and Dakino. We went through each item on the list and pulled out cash to pay for each one by one. In the end, we didn't have enough money to buy everything. We sold some cement back to but other materials that are needed immediately.
The money that was donated this past Monday by the Helgager-Huges family, Susan Natalie, and Palms of Fire is going to be wired to us this Tuesday and will be enough to get most of the remaining materials needed.
Right now, the water reservoir is being built. When we go back on Wednesday, we will buy as much of the remaining supplies and possible. We also hope to conduct the ceremony for the blessing of the land. No official construction can begin until this is done.
Our plan is to have the large items dropped off Friday morning. I will stay on the land with Seni to receive the delivery while Fode Lavia and Fode A. go to purchase the rest of the materials and tools together.
Inshah allah, all will go well tomorrow!
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