As I reach my 100th Blog posting I also reach the end of the first phase of my time in Ghana. I am going home to England this week for Christmas and will return in January for another year in Nadowli. Therefore, for the next month, “Adrienne will not be in Africa” and this Blog will be taking a well earned rest!
The start time was 9am and we expected to be sitting alone on the church steps for an hour or so waiting for everyone. None of it! The church was already full of children and teachers, practising songs, adjusting traditional colourful costumes, testing musical instruments and generally scurrying about. There was little room for performers let alone everyone else who wanted to see and hear what was happening.
Eventually, we were ready to begin. The Director was late but we didn’t wait for her. She arrived a little dishevelled after half of the programme and only just managed to push her way through a very crowded side entrance.
All the singing I have heard here is at one volume….loud, and one tone……from the throat rather than the diaphragm. However, whoever sings does so with all their heart, soul and energy. This was definitely the case today. There was no holding back and the choristers loved it. Children, teachers and District officers read familiar Nativity passages from the Bible to a noisy congregation and the priest blessed us all at the end.
This was a lovely occasion and the only sign, in Nadowli, that Christmas is near. From what I can tell, apart from joyous church services, there will be little in the way of Christmas celebrations that would be recognised in the more developed countries around the world. However, in most of those, the real meaning of Christmas is drowned out by the manic consumerism that causes so much exhaustion, greed, relative poverty and emotional stress. The birth of Christ will certainly be celebrated here in Nadowli. Father Christmas and anyone else bearing gifts will pass by almost all the children in this part of the world. If they eat well they will be very lucky on Christmas Day.
I should like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has followed this blog throughout 2011. I have felt so privileged to be living in Ghana and your support has encouraged me to record the significant experiences and observations of my first year. I have loved writing the 100 postings to date and hope I shall reach 200 by the end of 2012 and my work here. With your continued interest I shall be spurred on to write more. My Ghanaian friends have promised to teach me more about life for the people in the Upper West. I look forward to pounding my own Fufu and making TZ for a start. Watch this space for more details.
I hope you and your families all have a very merry Christmas and a happy and fulfilling year in 2012.