Written by Hannah Wasson (Chocolate University, Class of 2020)
Everyone is coming together to help make the Mababu Chekechea Cultural Center and Culture Day Celebration a success. In preparation to open the Cultural Center at the Chekechea, items are being collected from students and families at the school. Each family has been encouraged to donate one item of cultural importance. Cultural committees, led by chekechea teachers, Ms. Oganigwe Ngonya and Mr. Kassiani, have been established to collect these items, stories and traditions and to document the function, importance and relevance to Mababu for each item in the curated collection.
income building activities and examples of cultural food and drinks
cocoa, rice, fishing – the history, background, processes of the products
Throughout the fall of 2020, Tuesday planning meetings allow for each committee to present what they have collected so that they can all become familiar with each item and they share the stories that go along with the collection. Committee members have also traveled to meet with village elders and the families of the founders of the area to gather stories and songs that have been documented and are shared with the community, keeping the area’s rich oral traditions alive.
The committee members involved in bringing the Cultural Center to life are very excited about the project. CCF Leader, Mama Mpoki, and secretary, Joseph Mwaigomole, agree ”the most exciting thing about the cultural day is that we will learn and see things that we did not inherit with pride until then. It’s exciting to see the kids practicing and doing good cultural things while they are still young. It’s our real happiness to see that”. It’s great to see how eager the community members are to have an event to honor their culture, which is something unique in the community; the first event of its kind. The chekechea teachers have truly engaged with their young students to build a valuable sense of being rooted in the village community and an appreciation for the rich history of their homeplace
About the Mababu Cultural Center, Shawn Askinosie said “I’m blown away by the farmer partners and the teachers – they really took the idea of celebrating their cultural heritage and made it happen. The photos and videos really bring the project to life. I can’t wait to visit in person on our next cocoa buying trip.”