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Ocheami brings West Africa to Bainbridge | Around the Island

Ocheami brings us West Africa

Following a set of student and teacher workshops on the island last week, the West African music and dance coalition Ocheami will bring Ghana, Africa to Bainbridge, with shows tomorrow and Friday at Bainbridge Performing Arts.

Bonnie Showers, program manager for the Bainbridge Island Arts Education Community Consortium – which organized Ocheami’s visit to Bainbridge – spoke to the ongoing importance of opening school-age children, and ourselves, to other worlds.

“It is so interesting to experience arts and cultural education projects (like this one) in light of the current election, and what might be seen as a split in the U.S. between people who celebrate the cultural diversity of the U.S., embrace it as an important path towards worldwide respect and understanding, viewing the U.S. in a wider global context – and those who don’t, or haven’t woken up to the idea that we actually don’t live on an island,” Showers said in an email prior to last week’s workshops.

“Hence, these cultural education projects, which the teachers and students say are so valuable.”

In the Ga Language of Ghana, Ocheami means “linguist,” the representative who speaks on behalf of the chief.

The mission of Ocheami, founded by Kofi and Amma Anang 30 years ago, is not only to study West African culture, but to “speak” to audiences on behalf of West African people through performance: drumming, dance, storytelling and song.

For the Bainbridge shows, Zimbabwean storyteller Lora Lue Chiorah-Dye of the Sukutai Cultural Performing EnsembleLora will join the program, bringing dance, music, and stories of the Shona people of Zimbabwe.

Performances are at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Nov. 13 and 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Nov. 14.

Shows are 50 minutes to one hour and are recommended for all ages. For information, see www.home.earthlink.net/~ocheami/ or www.bainbridgeperformingarts.org.

For tickets, $6, contact Showers at 842-7901 or 855-7816.

New ed director for IslandWood

IslandWood has announced the hiring of a new director of education, John Haskin, formerly of Teton Science School in Jackson, Wyo.

Haskin holds a doctorate in environmental studies and has directed numerous environmental education programs in North Carolina, Ohio and New York.

Haskin applied for the job when the position formerly held by Dr. Pat Guild O’Rouke became vacant. O’Rouke will stay on at IslandWood as part of a development team to grow the organization through partnerships.

IslandWood attracted Haskin partly due to its burgeoning credibility among the nation’s environmental education community.

“IslandWood is well known as a fast emerging, creative environmental education center,” Haskin said. “And everyone in this field around the nation has their eyes on it.”

For now there are no major new directions planned for educational program at IslandWood, but Haskin is looking forward to taking the reins and working with the center’s energetic staff.

“I’ve held similar positions in centers like this around the county over the last 30 years,” he said. “But one of the things that really struck me is the staff here – the people are just phenomenal. So far that has been the most exciting part.

“The biggest challenge now is getting to know what is here, what we can offer, and getting a deep understanding of what IslandWood is all about.”

KCCHA will unload property

The Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority has begun the bidding process to liquidate eight properties as part of a corrective plan to deal with mounting debts.

Money obtained through the liquidation will go toward paying down lines of credit and debt the agency has racked up through expansion and property investments.

The total estimated value of all listed properties is $7.5 million.

KCCHA has not made public the amount of money is trying to make in cuts and property liquidation, or the total of the agency’s debt.

The property liquidation comes shortly after the layoffs of 15 KCCHA staff as the agency cut its outreach and counseling programs.

Properties are being sold in a sealed-bid format. All bids must be received at KCCHA’s Silverdale offices by 4 p.m. Nov. 19.

Bids on another property, the Tree Tops work force housing facility, are still being reviewed.

It is expected that property will sell for roughly $20 million.

Properties can be viewed at www.kccha.org/property.

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