Sunday, 27 May 2012

African Union Day

This has been a long weekend due to Friday being African Union Day and a Public Holiday. We have wondered what this is and whether there is considerably more celebration in other parts of Ghana and Africa. I heard it was initially, Gaddafi’s idea to unite African nations and he planned to be president of that union. So, probably the less said about that the better!

Anyway, I spent the day cooking and attending a funeral. I’m getting the hang of TZ now and will attempt another “solo flight” soon. This time it was accompanied by “Green Green”, a stew of shredded pumpkin leaves and okra. I doubt you’d like it as it’s rather slimy but I’m getting used to alternative textures.

The funeral was a big gathering. The dead man was fairly young, with a pregnant wife, and was hit on his moto on Thursday morning by a tro on the wrong side of the road in broad daylight. He was very well respected and worked at the District Assembly (Local Council). People came from everywhere to pay respects and walk around his open coffin. Men and women were wailing loudly at their loss. The corpse wasn’t brought to this site from the hospital until lunchtime on Friday but the mourning had been underway for 24 hours by then. A photograph of the man was displayed in the meantime. Mourning was accompanied by the playing of 3 large xylophones continuously throughout the day and night.  A mass was said there under a tree before the coffin was carried the short distance to where the grave had been dug near the family home. Even as they processed towards the grave, people were still arriving and running, crying and wailing desperately, across the field to catch a last glimpse of his face. Apparently, you can tell their relationship to the corpse by the way they wail. Within 34 hours of the accident the corpse was buried. We left at that point to avoid the huge volume of traffic that would be heading back to the main road from the village.

I hadn’t been to a funeral like this where so many mourners attended and so many men wailed. Some men carried goat skins over their shoulders sewn up into bags. Evidently, years ago when cowries (shells) were used as currency, men carried them to funerals in these bags to throw around the body and for the xylophone players. Nowadays coins are thrown but the bags often make an appearance in keeping with tradition.
There were 2 other funerals in Nadowli that day. They are very common occurrences and sadly too often involve young people.

Just a quick update on Doris. She is still "with child" and getting wider by the hour! She must be the best fed goat in Ghana as I'm finding her scraps every time she appears at the door. Well, she is eating for at least 3! As soon as she gives birth I shall post photos with the announcement.

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