SUMNER — Students at Hartford-Sumner Elementary School finished several weeks of studies on Africa on Friday with drumming, dancing and eating.

Special guests on African Adventure Day were drummers Namory Keita, originally from Guinea, and Theo Martey, a native of Ghana. The two live in New Hampshire and are part of the group Akwaaba, whose members travel to schools and colleges in the Northeast.

Akwaaba means “welcome.”

Both men said they love sharing their native country’s music.

“I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years. I have a passion for music and drumming,” Martey said.

Also teaching the children to play drums and other percussion instruments and to sing African songs was Michael Wingfield.

But sixth-grader Cheyanne Goroshin’s favorite guest was Wendy Morrill, an English language arts teacher at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School who taught in Niger, Gabon and other African nations before coming to Buckfield.

“She talked about her life in Africa. It was exciting to know someone who lived in those countries,” Goroshin said.

Also Friday, students learned about the continent’s animals and created drawings or murals of them, made Mancala game boards, learned to drum and saw brightly colored clothing and jewelry.

Each class had a chance to learn dance, drumming and art. Fifth-grader Caleb Harvey said the whole day was cool.

“I like seeing the stuff from Africa and seeing the people who look different,” he said.

Sixth-grader Jessica Doucette believes it’s important to know about other countries and places in the world.

“If you want to go there, you’ll know what it’s like,” she said as she and Goroshin demonstrated how the game Mancala is played.

A supper and performance by students, Akwaaba and Wingfield was scheduled Friday evening.

The African program was financially supported by the Nezinscot Music Boosters and sponsored and organized by the school’s allied arts program.


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