Mraz even more optimistic after visiting Ghana
NEW YORK (AP) — Jason Mraz’s middle name could easily be “optimist.”
But the singer-songwriter, who is known for his feel-good, hippie and hopeful demeanor, says going to Ghana to free child slaves took his optimism barometer to a new level.
“When I first arrived at the shelter, the kids were applauding us and singing songs for us, and it just showed me it doesn’t take too much time for a child, once he’s free, to return to being a child,” said Mraz. He returned from Ghana last week after visiting the country for five days with the organization Free the Slaves.
In a recent interview, Mraz talked about his trip, what his family thought about him going and how it’s influencing his music.
The Associated Press: How was it when you first arrived?
Mraz: To be honest with you, I said, “What am I doing here? Like, what can I really contribute?” I’m an artist and certainly I have an audience I can communicate with, but I’m an unknown artist when it comes to Ghana. Who am I going to uplift, move and inspire over there? So I certainly had my fears ‘cause the work we were going to be doing certainly came with its share of dangers.
AP: Did you free any slaves?
Mraz: I was not part of a rescue that actually freed a child because as I discovered with many of the rescue missions, a trafficker, an owner of a child, a slave master will hide that child and in our case they did. We had the child, we’re taking pictures with the kid, you know, and the whole community was there to see. It was apparently set up that today was the day we were going to get the child, but the chief of the village and the owner had mysteriously disappeared and within minutes other community members locked the child away in a hut, dead-bolted the lock and we were standing there helpless.
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