Our first podcast is complete and ready to share with the rest of the world, “Obruni: Take It Up”. Our intention is for this to be the first in a series of stories that document Amber’s time as an exchange student in Takoradi, Ghana from 2000 to 2001.
My daughter, Amber, and I have been working for about a month at Rockylou Productions down in Studio B (my basement ) to produce this piece. It was a wonderful opportunity for mother and daughter to create together. I am eternally grateful for her suggestion to give-this-a-go. Amber provided the raw material from letters and stories she had written while in Ghana. Then the production journey began as we learned how to use our recording equipment with GarageBand, find and create sound effects, editing and mixing to get just the right feel. I still giggle when I remember how my creativity got a little out-of-control during the ‘Amazing Grace’ segment and Amber supportively reminded me….. “Mom, we want them to say, ‘Please give us more.’ NOT ‘Please make it stop!’” We hope you enjoy this podcast and look forward to hearing more.
Amber arrives in Ghana in “Take it up”. The new “Obruni”, or white person, both delights and scares the young children of Takoradi. In this, our first episode, explore the contrast between preconception and reality and discover the ways music can transcend cultural divides.
Amber arrives in Ghana
“Did I have any idea what I was in for when I registered to spend a year in Ghana as an exchange student? I thought so then, now I am far less sure.”
Three new sisters (L to R): Boatema, Maameaba and Emi sitting in the living room.
Emisaba (Emi) showing her cooking skills
“I live in the upper level of a modestly sized, if poor, concrete house. There is a gas stove and a refrigerator…”
“…even a veranda where I often sit to look out over the city.”
“I am, perhaps, the only white girl moving purposefully through a dense crowd of West Africans milling about Market Circle.”
“They move haltingly through the streets, serving to avoid pedestrians and honking incessantly. The air is heavy with the smell of food, sweat, and sewage, which runs openly through concrete gutters along the sides of the street.”
“Bruni, Bruni” they yell, waving their hands enthusiastically. I smile and wave back. The two boys are ecstatic to have successfully attracted my attention. They jump up and down, pumping their arms back and forth in glee before sprinting out of view. A few minutes later they are back, dragging with them four or five others.”
“Though my skin has tanned significantly from the near translucent-white I was sporting upon arrival, I am surprised at how pale they are compared to the local scenery. My host mother tells me “Kuukua, you’re an African now.”
To view all podcasts in the series click here.
Wow, that was fun. What a great way to start my work day, listening to this. I laughed out loud at parts!
Joan Carrier •
Rochelle & Amber,
Fantastic! It really made me think about our trip to Kenya and Tanzania in 2007. There were so many similarities. Africa really gets in one’s blood! Allen who is a “been there, done that, don’t need to do it again” kind of traveler has said that is one place he would go again. You did such a good job of re-creating the experience!
Karyn Wrenshall •
Dear Amber, I felt myself going to Ghana with you, utterly drawn in on this quiet Sunday morning. Your memoir struck so many chords! I already knew you and your mother have wonderful speaking voices. What I didn’t know is that you are a fine writer! You brought me with you onto your upstairs balcony as you sang–but then, much farther into my own past as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines. I, too, remember FRAGRANT outdoor markets, the overexposed sensation of being the only white-skinned person for leagues. And the sight of men and boys walking hand-in-hand in the streets, warm friends. We don’t know much about touching in the U.S. I remember going off to “change the world”, and finding the world changed me. That was 44 years ago! Your story brought it back. Thanks to you and Rocky for a wonderful story!
Rockylou & Amber: Love the content and love the voice overs….Amber has a beautiful voice like her mother! Good tone and engaging. I will look forward to what you both will create in the future. This was a window into Ghana so very personal. Go ladies Go! Love, Royal
Bernard Abaka-Williams •
You have no idea what nostalgia this brings, good job can not wait for more.
Beautiful story, wonderful, inspiring work. Thanks for sending it on!
Rochelle & Amber –
This is absolutely amazing!! Congratulations. I certainly knew you were both talented but this really extraordinary! You go, girls…and let your creative hearts sing!