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Re: artsednet digest: November 02, 2001

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From: Y.R. Brown (imaniyo_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Nov 03 2001 - 19:53:49 PST


Dear RB and any other list member that may have took a less than positive
view of the posting I sent regarding the art programs in Ghana.

I am well aware of the funding inequities of schools in America, the
minumental budgets and crazy responsibilities that art teachers and their
colleagues face daily. I did not presume that anyone on this list was
affluent. When I spoke of abundance I meant an abundance of spirit foremost
and the relative safety, relative good health services we have access to and
the infinite number of opportunities we enjoy in the states.

The fact that many of the folks on this list are women, educated and
employed is a reality that is not enjoyed by millions of women on this
planet...That is Abundance. The fact that we as members of this list can
dialogue, teach/ share art and its history with one another and our students
is a blessing and a privilige. No matter what ones current sense of lack is
we do have more than most folks that I met in Ghana. There lack in no way
impeded their creativity or their committment to creativity and development
as artist or educators.

Please think from a place of prosperity, not scarcity and you will hopefully
understand where I was coming from. The world is becoming smaller and
smaller and we will only find harmony and peace when we embrace diversity
and share ourselves without fear. When I posted the messge to the list I was
practicing what I preach.

On the matter of Howard Stern...It's hard to even acknowledge the reference,
but I will try. Africa and West Africa specifically was invaded by the
Portuguuese, Bristish, Spanish, etc., each one taking what they wanted,
reaping great benefit from the natural and human resources of the continent.
  Ghana is an amazing, beautiful country the size of Illinois. There are
major natural by-products taken from that land by foreign interest daily
(i.e, granite, gold, boxite, oil, minerals,cocoa,etc.) The country is in
debt to the World Bank and will probably never be able to pay off the loans,
because practices like foreign contractors overcharging for road
construction, that need repair almost as soon as they are lain and cocoa
prices set by the World Bank, not the farmers contribute ot the economic
enslavement of that nation. So, RB when a abruni (white man) comes to a
rural,underdeveloped part of Ghana a lighter is not a foreign concept, but
rather an item that the community could use. I am highly suspect of the
community wanting to make Stern a King of their tribe. It may very well
been a novel gesture of thanks and appreciation, and maybe the joke was on
Stern,not the Ghanaians. No matter where you go outside the West folks think
you are rich. We look like affluence, we are beef and milk feed and we wear
our debt on us or we drive it around, so a lighter instead of a box of
matches may have looked high-class to them, but I doubt it.

In the major cities of Ghana; Kumasi and Accra there are well devloped
neighborhoods, an educated workforce, public transit, five star hotels and
resorts, night clubs, great restaurants offering Ghanaian, Indian and
Chinese food, even American fare. When I was there I went to a karakoe bar,
I met the highest ranked Catholic Bishop in Ghana, I went to three of the
major universities in Ghana, I went to the theater and three different
churches and ten or so galleries. I went to homes that would make you gasp
from the architectural excellence of them. The same house in the US would
put the average middle-lass person in the poor house. I met internationally
recognized artist and educators.

In closing, Ghana is in many ways like the US where the rich get richer and
the fiscally challenged carry the burden. Personally, I am nto well off, I
have given money and time. I have given thousand of pro-bono hours of
service to schools and non-profits, donated artwork and facilitated my share
of book drives and bake sales for the arts in my communities schools. This
project has been my way of closing the gap between the haves and have nots,
and my effort to be a good global neighbor.

Thank you,
Y. R. Brown

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Subject: Help students and teachers in America!!!
From: RB7Surf7@aol.com
Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2001 21:58:00 EST
X-Message-Number: 38

I would hope that we think about the abundance we have in our lives, at work
and at
home. ????
What makes you think I have so much abundance, I am going through my own
struggle and I do not see anyone helping me.

Howard Stern went on a tour on Ghana, and he said when he showed the natives
that he could start a fire with a cigarette lighter, they wanted to make him
king of the tribe, do you think he is making that up?
RB

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