Monday, 6 June 2011

Life and Death

The week began this morning with the usual "Morning Devotion". Prayers as always were giving thanks for bringing everyone safely to the office and for sparing us all through the weekend. People here appear to be grateful, literally, for each day. However, it seems that if they survive motorbike journeys whilst under the influence of drink at funerals and all the diseases that are not diagnosed ( if they are is there any available treatment?), Ghanaians can live to great ages.

Madam was telling me this morning that her mother was 105 when she died last year. I don't think the people in our rural area have Birth Certificates, so I don't know quite how accurate ages are. However, anything close to 105, having given birth to 11 children 9 of whom survived, is pretty good going!  Similarly, one of the older officers, who has his own farm and brings us green peppers and cucumbers, was absent today because he is mourning his "last mother". Apparently, as his father had a few wives (this is quite normal here) each one is mourned as a "mother". The last of his fathers wives died yesterday. Sisters of your mother are also regarded as "mothers" to you as well.

I was hearing about a baby whose mother died in childbirth and the father had already died before the birth. The Grandmother was looking for anyone to look after the child. She was not prepared to do this herself as the baby was classed as a witch for bringing so much bad luck to the family.

There is so much about family life and how people are valued here that is fascinating. Your relationships with your family members and those you work with are more important than anything you might achieve. Hence all the laborious greetings and handshaking with everyone each morning at the office is vital to maintain good relationships, even before you have started thinking about doing any work.

Oh. A quick correction.............TZ is made from Cornflour!  We had yam chips for lunch. Good but will never replace potatoes for me. I haven't seen a potato for over 2 months. Imagine that.

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