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So many questions lay before the USA soccer squad before their first game against Ghana in the FIFA World Cup.

Would they finally be able to top the African nation that had ended their dreams the last two World Cups? Would coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s coaching style work? Could these Americans prove that they could handle the toughest group in the tournament? How would Landon Donovan possibly be replaced?

Just 30 seconds into the game, the answer came.

Forward Clint Dempsey got hold of the ball 10 yards outside of Ghana’s box and dribbled it in, juking Ghana defender John Boye along the way, putting himself in a one-on-one situation with Ghanaian keeper Adam Kwarasey. A left-footed strike from Dempsey slid past Kwarasey, hitting the right post and rolling in.

Just like that, the “I believe” chant that has become America’s symbol of hope came to full fruition.

It was America’s for the taking. And for most of the game, it was clear that this team was ready for the moment.

But even more impressive was how the U.S. team did it. The game was no walk in the park, and the resilience shown shed light on what Klinsmann’s group can handle.

U.S. striker Jozy Altidore was lost after just 20 minutes of play, grabbing his left hamstring and plummeting to the ground while trying to chase down a ball. Dempsey also suffered a bloody nose in the first half.

All the while Ghana, playing much more aggressively in the second half, was able to put the pressure on the American defense, and in the 82nd minute, saw this aggression pay off when midfielder Andre Ayew rocketed the equalizing goal past American keeper Tim Howard.

The memories of the previous defeats at the hands of the quick and agile Ghanaian team started creeping back. But something was different this time: There was no panic among the U.S. squad.

Instead we witnessed a confidence. The same confidence exhibited by multiple players on the team who said prior to arriving in Brazil that they relished being in the acclaimed “group of death” — which also includes Portugal and powerhouse Germany.

The “I believe” attitude could be felt. And when U.S. substitute defender John Brooks headed one into the net just a few minutes before the final whistle, little doubt was left that this team had done everything necessary to prepare for this stage, and more so, that they had done it without doubt.

Both teams had expressed confidence in the ability to win this game but the U.S. had shown it.

“It was what we expected,” Klinsmann said in an interview with ESPN after the contest. “We got the three points that we wanted and we can move on.”

The 2-1 win was necessary for the Americans to have a realistic chance to make it out of their group.

Given Portugal’s struggles against Germany earlier in the day, the window of opportunity to advance seems to have already expanded for Klinsmann’s side.

More than ever, this American group is certain they can prove their readiness to take on the most frightening of teams in this world-class competition and once again display the growth of the sport in North America.

The last time the U.S. won its opening game of the World Cup was 2002, just before Dempsey joined the international team. On Monday afternoon, he finally got to experience that same feeling.

“It was a dream come true,” Dempsey said. “This win will give us confidence going into the next game. The boys showed a lot of heart.”

GHANA — Who would have thought that we would step into a royal palace in the middle of West Africa? This past Friday, our Maymester cohort was welcomed to the village of Agogo, located in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, by Nana Ama Serwaa Afrakoma Kusi Oboadum, the Queen Mother of Agogo. Palms began to sweat as we made our way into the palace courtyard. The rhythm of drums and traditional dancing welcomed us as we followed the Queen Mother to her royal stool. Shades of red, gold and green adorned her robe. As is the custom, we greeted a host of regional chiefs and other queen mothers that were in attendance at this durber (meaning celebration in Twi, the local language). "Akwaaba" (meaning welcome) followed every handshake and "medase" (meaning thank you) followed every step we took. The young children of the village welcomed us with the traditional African dances called kete and adowa, and within minutes our entire group was moving to the beat of the drums.

The words of the Queen Mother, “Welcome home, my brothers and sisters,” still resonate with us as the durber continues. Some of the key components of the celebration began, such as the pouring of libations, a ritual that acknowledges ancestors of the living dead through prayer. Later, we stated our mission to the village. The 2014 Ghana Maymester’s mission for the village of Agogo is to continue the annual reforestation efforts and build relationships with community members such as the local junior high school in the region.

Our purpose for going on this trip was to gain an experience that we could not find in our own backyards. We had the chance to come together with the people and experience Ghanaian roots in a village. We had the chance to be one.

Cruz is a corporate communication senior from Mission. Sanders is a recent government graduate from Houston. Cruz and Sanders are currently studying abroad through the Maymester Social and Community Development led by social work professor Dorie Gilbert.

Correction: The print version of this article, which ran Monday, misspelled certain Twi words and misidentified the Queen Mother.

Steven Feld’s research and compelation of photographs and video from funeral congregations in Ghana, West Africa expose an energetic, vibrant, and positive culture centered around homemade instruments and motivational visual messages.

Photo Credit: Marshall Nolen | Daily Texan Staff

In the La community in Ghana, a person changing his flat tire could suddenly find himself serenaded by a circle of horn players and drummers as encouragement.

The Department of Anthropology screened a film documenting the people of Accra, Ghana, a segment of society largely influenced by the La Township Drivers Union. The film is by Steven Feld, professor of anthropology and music ethnology at the University of New Mexico, and his partner Nii Yemo Nunu from the community of La in Accra. Feld was at the event, which took place at the Student Activity Center.

According to the film, the La community highly values transportation and compares the driver in their social class structure to that of a university professor. For a man to obtain his license, he must complete rituals such as consuming clay and having goats’ blood spilled onto his feet.

Feld said he started working on the film after he recorded and explored music called “Por Por” with the drivers union and realized how little attention this music and culture had been given by reporters.

“I met Nunu in 2005 and quickly found out that he was sitting on an extraordinarily unique archive,” Feld said. 

The film also focuses on the significance drivers place on inscribing their vehicles. The union drivers explain the importance of trademarks such as “The Day,” referring to the day one man was vindicated of a sugar looting crime and “Be Sure,” a phrase reflective of a man’s certainty in getting his clients from Accra to Bukom. Many of the phrases are derived from American films.

The red, gold and green of Ghana is often used as a means of celebration while the Por Por horns are sounded to symbolize alertness and importance. In the film, a member of the community explains the distinct sound each horn has and the influence it has on the La union drivers. The beating of metal and playing of Por Por can be heard when these mechanics fix each other’s vehicles as a sign of encouragement.

Anthropology graduate student Alix Chapman said he appreciates how the music itself serves as a type of archive.

“I was very interested in the relationship between the emergence of the music and the transition from colonial to an independence stage and how the music was related to the struggle of working class people there,” Chapman said. “It’s great that he is doing this work and archiving this cultural practice through creating videos and helping people to organize all of their photos and media.”

Printed on Tuesday, February 2, 2013 as: In Ghana, drivers are placed on pedestal 

Street artist photographer Rana Ghanna talks to students about her art work Thursday night. Her lecture was followed by the film “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” a documentary about a British stencil artist named Banksy.

Photo Credit: Rebeca Rodriguez | Daily Texan Staff

About 11 years ago, local photographer Rana Ghana could not walk down Guadalupe St. without smelling spray paint in the air and hearing the sizzle of local street artists doing their work. Those days are gone.

Ghana spoke about the dynamics of street art and the city’s efforts to remove it in a lecture sponsored by the Fine Arts Library Thursday evening.

About 40 students and members of the community attended Ghana’s lecture, which also addressed the recent closing of the Baylor Street Art Wall at 11th and Baylor Streets. The wall was established in February and featured the work of Shepard Fairey, most widely known for the “HOPE” posters he designed for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Conflict arose when many local street artists saw the wall as a public art space and covered up some of Fairey’s art with their own.

“The city wants to take the art away from us but the more effort they put into taking it down the more the artists put to keep it on,” Ghana said. “The artist is just going to go to the next corner.”

Ghana has been photographing different street art in Austin for more than three years. Although often referred to as vandalism and property damage by city officials and some local residents, Ghana said street art can include anything from murals and graffiti to stencils and tags. Stenciling is a technique where people take a stencil and paint the image on a wall or other surface. Tagging is when people write their name on various surfaces.

“There’s this misconception that these artists are on the street and on drugs but they’re not all like that, “ Ghana said. “There are people in TCK [a group of graffiti artists] who are wealthy and some who are street kids.”

Karen Holt, fine arts outreach librarian, said she created the event in an attempt to showcase the resources offered at the Fine Arts Library. She said she was inspired to invite Ghana after reading an article on her views about protecting street art in The Austin Chronicle.

“After living in Berlin, a city most known as ‘the graffiti mecca of the urban art world,’ I became fascinated with street art,” Holt said. “It is considered to be vandalism and many street artists work under the cover of night and hide their identity for fear of being arrested.”

Advertising junior Emily Bordages attended the conference to learn more about street art for her advertising project on documenting creativity. Bordages said she never realized street art was so big in Austin.

“I think it’s pretty cool that art can come in such a casual form, and they have something to say but have a different way of saying it,” Bordages said. 

After several weeks spent volunteering at a low-income maternity ward in Ghana, former Longhorn Emily Hsu came back to the states with a strong desire to help the hospitals.

Hsu traveled to Ghana after hearing about a friend’s summer teaching at a small school in Kumasi with Longhope Bodaou, a Ghana native and a teacher in Bryan, Texas.

She moved to Kumasi in August 2005 and lived with Bodaou and her family where she fondly remembers having hot tea and homemade bread every morning before heading down the road to Manhyia Hospital, where she would spend most of the day in the maternity ward.

Hsu said her hands-on experience was “invaluable,” recalling standing next to a surgeon as he performed a cesarean section.

“I was always right there as they talked through the procedure and I experienced everything,” she said. “When I came home I wanted to give back to the people who had taught me so much.”

Hsu said she remembers women having to supply their own sanitary supplies such as alcohol, cotton swabs and trash bags to lay on.

She said she will never forget the day she had to watch over a baby who was born breathing weakly, and the hospital couldn’t provide an incubator.

“Imagine a basket made out of bars with a little padding; that’s all they had,” she said.

Hsu brought hospital stories back to the 40 Acres and in 2006 the organization, Women in Medicine, held a pageant to raise money for Manhyia Hospital.

HOPE Africa, an annual charity pageant named after Hsu’s host family friend Longhope, has raised on average $2,000 a year since its creation five years ago. The money has bought mosquito nets for the maternity ward, retiled the floor and provided blankets and other supplies.

Computer sciences senior Steven Rapp, one of six contestants in this year’s pageant, and was named Mr. HOPE Africa 2011.

As the only non-medicine-related major, Rapp said he felt like the odd man out, but he saw his participation as proof that anyone can lend a helping hand.

“Thankfully, despite me not knowing a damn thing about anatomy, I can still help this hospital out with my contribution,” he said.

Amanda Sunny, a human development and family sciences senior, said her experiences with West African hospitals have been humbling.

She said she appreciates HOPE Africa and believes it’s unfortunate more light isn’t shed on the hospital insufficiencies in West Africa.

“I’ve noticed on television that they tend to go for moneymaker problems, and I guess a hospital without enough beds doesn’t appeal to the public as much as other issues,” she said.

Manhyia Hospital is still working to purchase incubators for the maternity ward, and Hsu said she hopes the pageant proceeds will soon help them realize that dream.

“I know HOPE Africa doesn’t raise $10,000 every year but it does help,” Hsu said. “If the money can continue to help them take small strides then it will continue to be worthwhile.”