A couple weeks ago, as Akron received its first snow of the season, Abdulsalam Mohammed Daaru was experiencing his first snow ever. The peace activist from Ghana filmed it selfie-style and had an unplanned meeting with local art icon Don Drumm, who Abdulsalam didn’t realize was “Akron famous.” In the process, his wide-eyed appreciation for our winter weather made him a local celebrity too. We caught up with him to learn more about what he thinks of Akron and what he’s been doing here. (photo by Shane Wynn)
Abdulsalam Mohammed Daaru
Occupation: Senior Nursing Officer, social entrepreneur, Lead Researcher of The PPF Research and Peace Institute of Ghana, Peace Activist from Ghana working to promote peace in Ghana and globally through research, national dialogue, advocacy and consultation.
Hometown: Ghana, a West African nation that was first to achieve independence in 1957 in sub Saharan African. It is a country of political and interreligious stability in Africa with rich history and heritage.
Current Neighborhood: Highland Square
What do you like about Akron?
Akron means a lot to me because of the unique transformation I have witness in this four months period. I think more global now than ever before and feel more obliged to work for global peace. There are many things that make Akron unique across many of the communities and states of America that I visited in the course of this fellowship. I really love the collective sense of neighborhood that I see more in Akron. We were welcomed to Akron at Angel Falls on the eve of the memorial service of the late Summit County Executive Russ Pry. On many occasion we received visitors from the neighborhood in our house. That for me tells more about the bond and connections between the people of Akron as supposed to the general notions of Americans being independent and individualistic.
How do you identify yourself?
My vision is to contribute to creating a world where humanity live in absolute peace with each other with a great sense of respect for diversity and conflict is resolved through mediation, dialogue and not through war. I dream of a globe where humanity see themselves as global citizens and committed to creating opportunities for all regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender or race. …When I return to Ghana, my focus will be to put a team to begin working on achieving that. I feel obliged as an international ambassador of Akron to introduce Akron to a lot more Ghanaians
What did you think of your first experience with snow?
My first snow experience was a unique and memorable occasion I will never forget. It was a moment when I admired more profoundly the beauty of nature entirely different from what I know after 30 years of my existence on earth. As I walked through the neighborhood on that memorable day, all I could see was snow and everything was crystal white. That was truly amazing, startling and beautiful new experience for me. The happiness made me forget how cold and freezing it was and kept pushing me to move around until I come to accidentally meet the famous and legendary American sculptor and craftsman Don Drumm. I did not know him but he was welcoming and nice to me even without knowing me and without any prior notification accepted to be in my selfie video which went viral with over 23k views and about 300 shares.
What was it like to learn who Don Drumm was after meeting him on your walk?
When I returned from the walk, I was beaming with smile and happiness because of the joyful snow experience. I showed my host mother Judy Casey all the videos I shot and she told me the person I met was a famous person called Don Drumm. I just Googled and read about him and then I began to reflect about how welcoming, simple, peaceful and approachable he was to me. It reinforced my impression of Akron as a welcoming community. That was the reason why I posted that video. I am happy the video brought some feeling of happiness and joy to Akronites.
Now that you’ve become famous in Akron, what do you think of the reaction to your video?
I have never felt more welcomed, appreciated and loved in my life than what I received from Akronites as a response to that video. It opened doors for me to meet very amazing and great personalities like Chris Miller of (Akron Community Foundation), Shane Wynn (The Devil Strip, Cleveland.com); Tom Ghinder (Akron Promise), Michelle Boasten and Linda Mckinney (You Can Care, Inc.), and Frank Azona (former candidate for Ohio State Legislature). On many occasion, I meet people who easily recognize me, present gifts to me and take pictures with me. What an amazing transformation. I am forever grateful to Akron, Ohio.