The Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA) has extended an arm of friendship to the City of Lexington in Virginia in the United States of America (USA) following a courtesy call on the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Hon. Elizabeth Kaakie Mann, by students from the Washington and Lee University.
The students, numbering 18, led by Dr. Stephanie Sanberg, an Assistant Professor of the School, who had been in the country a couple of weeks on an educational tour, called on the Hon. MCE at her office in Abokobi on Wednesday afternoon.
The team leader, Dr. Stephanie Sanberg, in a brief message informed the Hon. MCE, with the Municipal Coordinating Director (MCD), Mr. Emmanuel Kwame Kungi, and some Heads of Departments present, that their visit was primary to help the students acquaint themselves with the history of slavery in Ghana as it is an area of study in the Washington and Lee University.
The Dr Stephanie Sanberg, who first came to Ghana in 2009, indicated that her former school, Calvin College in Grand Rapids Michigan, had a relationship with Ga East Municipality through a Sister-City Relationship programme between the two, Ga East and Grand Rapids.
Through the Sister-City Relationship programme with Grand Rapids, Calvin College adopted Adenkrebi and offered various volunteer services whenever students from the school came to Ghana, including stocking of their library with books and other learning and teaching materials, teaching, and painting of the school buildings, among others, while staying in the community.
The Assistant Professor, however, indicated that the City of Lexington was opened to a Sister-City Relationship programme with the Ga East Municipality and promised to facilitate its realization.
On her part, Hon. Elizabeth Kaakie Mann, welcomed the students and their leader with great excitement to the Municipality, emphasized the importance of Sister-City Relationships and promised to ensure formalization of same with the City of Lexington.
Hon. Kaakie Mann outlined the Assembly's policy on the programme and stated areas of interest.
"Our target areas for development cooperation through Sister-City Relationships are education, health, sanitation, tourism, and culture."
"We are using this opportunity to appeal to your school to consider us as partners and further, through you, reach out to your City Mayor for a Sister-City Relationship", the Hon. MCE remarked.
The Hon. MCE then led them to visit the Frederiksgave Plantation and Common Heritage Site at Sesemi, just about 3 kilometres from the Ga East Municipal Assembly Offices at Abokobi.
They were met on arrival and welcomed to the museum by Nii Akoto, Gyasetse of Sesemi, who then conducted the team around the facility, and eloquently and brilliantly told the students the story behind the slave plantation established by the Danes in 1831 but later discovered by an Archeologist at the University of Ghana, Dr. Yaw Bredwa-Mensah in 1997.
The National Museum of Denmark, in 2005, collaborated with Dr. Bredwa-Mensah, Prof. Henrik Breuning Madsen, and Ecological Laboratories (ECOLAB) at the University of Ghana, launched the Common Heritage Project and later excavated the buildings of Frederiksgave, which was among 11 slave plantations established by the Danes in the Ga East Municipality during the slave trade in the Gold Coast era.
The Municipal Chief Executive, Hon. Elizabeth Kaakie Mann, seized the opportunity to assure Nii Akoto and the people of her resolve to give the Frederiksgave Museum a befitting facelift to attract more tourists and maximize generation of revenue while creating jobs for the people.
Dr. Stephanie Sanberg expressed gratitude to the Hon. MCE and her team for the warm reception accorded them taking keen interest in the rationale for their visit to the extent of leading the students the Frederiksgave Museum out their busy schedule.
A tour operator, Mr. Daniel Tetteh Okwabi, who led the students to visit the Municipality also thanked the Assembly, especially the Hon. MCE for accepting their request to pay a courtesy call on her at a short notice.
He promised to avail himself to offer the needed assistance to facilitate the realization of the intended Sister-City Relationship programme between Ga East and Lexington.