Wednesday 26 March 2008.
Ghanaians in Vancouver celebrate 51st Independence anniversary
The Ghana-Canada Association of British Columbia celebrated Ghana's 51st independence anniversary with a big bash on Saturday, March 15, 2008 at the Eastburn Community Centre in Burnaby. The event was attended by people from different nationalities and it was quite colourful.
The theme for this year's celebration was "50 +1 - Time For Our Youth",
as the organizers aimed to project the welfare of the youth and
bring them to the forefront of the association's activities in the
Prominent among the invited guests were the Hon. Dave Hayer, the Hon. Richard
Lee, the Hon. John Nuraney and the Hon. Harry Bloy, all members
of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly, as well as Mrs. Bonnie
Sutherland, president of Afretech Aid Society and Dr. Elaine Decker,
Associate Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Kwantlen University
College. She was the Keynote Speaker.
Also in attendance were Professor Charles Quist-Adade's Sociology students
Stephanie Cummings, Mary-Anne Tanner, Vanessa Munn, Alicia McAteer,
Matthew Ekman, Tamas Belle, Amy Redmond, Marketa Rumlena and Caitlin
Gray. They were very instrumental in helping put the function together
and by creating a gift basket that was raffled to raise funds for
a scholarship fund the GCABC is trying to set up to raise funds
for Ghanaian-Canadian youth.
GCABC President, Dr. Quist-Adade cutting the cake at Ghana@51 gala night
In his welcome address Dr. Charles Quist-Adade, the President of
the GCABC and a Sociology Professor at Kwantlen University College
spoke about the new chapter that had been opened in the history
of the association with the election of new officers and the challenges
and opportunities that come with it.
He reminded the community that meeting these challenges required the collective
commitment and resolve of all to work harder to make the GCABC more
viable and responsive to the needs of its members.
He told the membership that the GCABC is a collective venture and that "we
sink or sail together." To this end, he said, what the association
becomes will be a reflection of "our collective hard work and
He encouraged every Ghanaian to come on board so that "we can all join
hands in moving the association forward." Quist-Adade further
spoke about the need to move beyond "the partying and merry-making
syndrome" and begin to build a solid foundation of economic
sustainability that will allow the association to provide support
services for its members, especially the youth and seniors.
He pointed out that that there was nothing wrong with partying but that merry-making
should incorporate fundraising and tangible projects whenever possible.
The GCABC president spoke of new initiatives that the new executive
have outlined with a view to making the association more forward-looking.
Prominent among these initiatives is a youth scholarship fund that he hoped
will be invested in children's education, because he surmised that
the best investment is in education.
Also addressed by Dr. Quist-Adade is the need to be able to issue tax receipts
to donors so that more people can donate generously to the association's
coffers. In this connection,a constitutional review committee has
been mandated with the task of updating the association's constitution
in order to meet the requirements for such status.
In her keynote speech, Dr. Elaine Decker, in keeping with the theme for the year, spoke about the bond between Kwantlen University College and the GCABC and the joint efforts between the two by highlighting the role of the two as educators and community leaders and their commitment to both the past and the present.
Dr. Decker spoke about teachers first meeting their students and
coming to know their histories, traditions and gifts. She spoke
of the learning opportunities created for the students that will
move them from their current place of knowing to that new and different
place. She said Ghanaians are agents of change on two continents
- Africa and North America.
Dr. Decker reminded the audience that the new place doesn't erase the previous location from the learner's memory but is rather built on the foundation of their histories, even though it is a different place.
photo: keynote speaker Dr. Elaine Decker and GCABC Treasurer, Mrs.
Judith Lartey,Mrs. Bonnie Sutherland
She added that this new place uses their traditions but in new
ways and offers them a chance to apply their gifts in the creation
of new ideas which are then used to start a new journey.
Learning, Dr. Decker said, is not a spectator sport as the coming together of any two communities require each member to develop and practice communication skills. She sums up this idea by quoting Nicholas Burbules and Suzanne Rice who wrote about "the self-imposition of restraint in order that others may have a turn to speak". Continuing, Dr. Decker said learning and changing require imagination, giving us the capacity to see beyond what is, to what might be.
She spoke of courage as a necessary tool to underwrite that imagination and to sustain the effort to convert the imaginary to the real. She said learners and leaders either believe they can or cannot and either way is right. This, she added, speaks to the immense power of hope which is in some ways a combination of imagination and courage.
Dr. Decker used the story of Milo, the hero of Norton Juster's
book, "The Phantom Tollbooth", where Milo, like many adolescents,
is bored with his life and is sent by the king to go into the mountains
of ignorance to rescue the princesses of rhyme and reason who have
been imprisoned there.
As Milo was departing, Dr. Decker says, the king shouts something
to him over the crowd but he did not hear the king and kept on moving.
He came back from his journey successfully and approaches the king
during the celebration and asked what he wanted to tell him before
he left, to which the king replied that he wanted to tell him that
it was impossible.
Photo: Mrs. Bonnie Sutherland, Director of Afretch, who was honoured
for her contribution to the Ghanaian community(Mrs. Sutherland's
Afretech in collaboration with Kwawu Agbemenu and Charles Dr. Quist-Adade
have furnished seven high schools in Ghana with more than 300 computers
supplied by Kwantlen University College and Douglas College)
She said, like teachers at Kwantlen, leaders in the Ghanaian community
demonstrate their commitment to both the past and the future to
maintain culture and tradition while working for change and development.
She said, like Milo, Ghanaians combine imagination, courage and
hope to sustain their families and their country through difficult
times, focusing on the future they want.
The evening was also the occasion to recognize some individuals
and organizations for their immeasurable contributions to the GCABC
and projects in Ghana. Kwantlen University College was recognized
for the immense support it has given the GCABC over the years and
Photo: MLA-Burnaby-Willingdon, Hon. John Nuraney delivering a goodwill
Afretech Aid Society was also recognized for its projects in Ghana,
as were some local merchants and establishments owned by Ghanaians.
Mrs. Mary Frimpong, Mrs. Augusta Odoom, Mrs. Gladys Kyei and Mrs. Geralda Quist-Adade were specially thanked for their hard work in making sure everybody was properly fed at the function.