port of harlem magazine
port of harlem gambian education partnership
Read Africa Gave Away Free Books
February 14 – February 27, 2019
Baba C

Griot/Master Storyteller Baba-C closed the Read Africa @ The Francis Gregory Library Festival with a very interactive story that gained the participation of the children and adults. About 35 children left the festival with a greater awareness and appreciation of Africa, book covers they created with arts educator and professional artist Karen Brown and knowledge of Adinkra symbols and drawings of them that they created or colored with wearable art designer Millée Spears. 

In addition, the library surprised the children with a free Africa Access approved book they we able to select and take home. (See all Access Africa approved books.) During the four hour festival, about 50 people enjoyed the activities.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the event. I am always interested in introducing my children to fun and exciting cultures so that they understand a more worldly view,” expressed one parent on the post-event evaluation. “Great for the neighborhood,” wrote another.

However, the day was more than about fun. Baba-C was loaded with tidbits of information as the children performed and giggled with him while learning about various things such as about the board game Oware, a strategy game older than chess. Brown led the children into giving a cereal box a second and creative life before recycling it and Spears helped the children see that other cultures have meaningful symbols, too.

Sunbim African American Caribbean Cuisine in Suitland, Maryland catered the event with pof pof, chinchin, and meat pies. The drinks included sorrel and fruit punch. 

Pof Pof, which are similar to donut holes went first. “I really liked sorrel,” said Baba C as he asked for the recipe. Sorrel is made from the hibiscus plant and can take on many names including Wonjo juice, as it is called in The Gambia. Jamaicans often add alcohol, some add mint, but Sunbim would not reveal what they added to the drink to make it so distinctly tasty.

The event was sponsored by the Francis Gregory Library, The Friends of the Francis Gregory Library, and the Port Of Harlem Gambian Education Partnership.
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