A DEATH IN GHANA

A DEATH IN GHANA

Ghanians are well known universally as adoring the dead & paying for expensive, flamboyant funerals.  So much so that the living are often left without resources to carry on, as they take out loans to give the appearance of affluence & later left with nothing.  Often relatives & friends are expected to rebuild houses, provide for airfare for those commuting a distance,  or burial clothes with expensive funerary items for the deceased & the family.  Recently stated by the immediate past Director-General, of the Ghana Health Service, Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, said that Ghanaians should pay attention to a healthy living and give priority to their health instead of spending all their resources on expensive funerals.

Funeral traditions in Ghana are indeed very interesting & have been adhered to for centuries!  The same practices that their ancestors did, they continue with today.  At some point money became a very important part of life & death in Ghana.  Maybe bartering was a mode to exchange services centuries ago.  Kwame has lost 2 sisters recently in Ghana, that I have written about in my blog.  One was his blood sibling, who died because surgery could not be performed until money was paid up front.  The other sister, referred to as Mum who had raised him with a grandmother, who had lived to be 101.  Imagine living to a ripe old age with the hardships, life brings to the people of that country.  His mother died in the process of breastfeeding him, & he lay there with a corpse, til all returned that day from the field. When a young child loses a parent, a new one is appointed to take care of the child.  Being a widow in Ghana, almost takes me back to biblical times.

Back to the topic!  After death is determined, the body will be taken to the mortuary.  It could be a long time before any funeral celebration can be planned.  Everyone that knew the person, must view the body.  When satisfaction is gained that all that need to view the body, have seen it, then preparation for funeral can begin. After the body has been viewed by all of the village, a funeral is planned which lasts a week.  This is a way of honoring all of the dead who have gone before them.  As Kwame says, “ It is like an American Memorial Day, where we go to honor the dead, who lost their lives in acquiring land for us.”  No body can be buried until the remembrance is done.  Ghanians pour alcohol over ground for remembrance, wanting the ghosts to know that they are remembering them. “We pray to God & worship the old memories.”  Then we slit the throats of sheep, pouring blood on the ground.  Then a feast begins & we eat for 2 days.”  Food gathered from the fields & the sheep that are slaughtered become our repast for our feasting.

Kwame is the tree of his extended family.  He tells me that everyone comes to him for shade. He meant relief from financial problems, wheither health needs, counseling, or just plain substance for daily living.”  Such pressure!  He is very torn right now, not only with pressure to alleviate the financial obligation of this rememberance, but physically feels a need to be in the presence of his past. “I am supposed to be like a son, who will stand there & bury her, but I can’t go.  She toiled for me, raised me , helped me get to America.  She deserves to have me stand at her graveside. It’s hard in Africa, Mummy.”

I have become his American Mummy, his family!  Such a beautiful heart!

Tomorrow, I will have to see about airfare.

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YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN!

YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN!

Often you hear the expression, that you can’t go home again.  Going home is a state of mind, A PLACE WHERE YOU WERE SAFE, be it a location, a person, or in your mind & heart.  A friend of mine calls it Bittersweet. No one can really go home again, as it truly is never the same.  Ever try going back to a place where you previously lived & were very happy?  Things never are the same, as you remember them.  First, usually, when you reach that mental state of mind, people have either changed, moved or have died.  Landscaping has changed.  That tree that your child brought home from kindergarten that “ you just have to plant to put air back again.”  Now it has been cut down & taken away. The prize peonies & roses are replaced with concrete & a new garage.  The interior of the house is not quite as you remember it, or totally different.  Our family home was sold a number of times.  My son, went to go through it with his children, the last time it was for sale. He said, when he came home, “Mom!  I never realized that my bedroom was so small!  As a child, it was the biggest spot in the world.  It was his domain! I went back to take pictures of the old house recently.  Someone

completely remodeled it.  It was a ranch, with a garage & bomb shelter underneath, the

first half of the house.  The landscape sloped, making the back of the house a second floor. A full front porch replaced what was a half porch. Now it has an upstairs, with lovely offsets for windows.  We had four bedrooms in our house.  I have to wonder, if the family living there now is large or if they needed more space.  But for a very short sixteen years, it was our palace!  The few times Pop had to baby-sit, he left our precious boy climb a mulberry tree, getting his overalls caught, by the seat of his pants.  Now, it is gone, as well as those dirty mulberries.  Anyone that has ever hung wash out on a line, know what a mess, the birds & berries make on your laundry.  Then there was the day, I had a God awful fight with hubby, until he finally dug the trench for our 18×16 size patio. I’ll never forget the Schumacher- Omar Khayyam draperies & the wall paper, that cost me a fortune, or the painter that spilled a whole gallon of yellow-green paint on the rug in the hallway.  Lastly, I’ll never forget those Thanksgivings, Christmas’s, family picnics, birthday parties, wedding receptions that were held in those years at home.  All will only live in our memories & hearts forever.  Bittersweet & painful to say the least!!!

As the Christmas song says, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas, If Only In My Dreams”.

TIDBITS FROM THE INTERNET

Washington-Monument

 This is very interestingA History lesson for sure .. . ..

LAUS DEO One detail that is never mentioned is that in Washington , D.C.

there can never be a building of greater height than the

Washington Monument.

With all the uproar about removing the ten commandments, etc.,

this is worth a moment or two of your time.  I was not aware of this amazing historical information.

On the aluminum cap, atop the Washington Monument in Washington , D.C , are displayed two words: Laus Deo. 

No one can see these words.  In fact, most visitors to the

monument are totally unaware they are even there and for

that matter, probably couldn’t care less.

Once you know Laus Deo ‘s history , you will want to share this with everyone you know. 

These words have been there for many years;

they are 555 feet, 5.125 inches high, perched atop the monument, facing skyward to the

Father of our nation, overlooking the 69 square miles which comprise the District of Columbia,

capital of the United States of America ..

Laus Deo!  Two seemingly insignificant, unnoticed words. Out of sight and, one might think,

out of mind, but very meaningfully placed at the highest point over what is the most powerful

city in the most successful nation in the world.

So, what do those two words, in Latin, composed of just four

syllables and only seven letters, possibly mean?  Very simply,

they say ‘ Praise be to God!’

Though construction of this giant obelisk began in 1848,

when James Polk was President of the United States ,

it was not until 1888 that the monument was inaugurated

and opened to the public.  It took twenty-five years to finally

cap the memorial with a tribute to the Father of our nation,

Laus Deo ‘Praise be to God!’

From atop this magnificent granite and marble structure,

visitors may take in the beautiful panoramic view of the city

with its division into four major segments.  From that vantage

point, one can also easily see the original plan of the designer,

Pierre Charles l’Enfant ..a perfect cross imposed upon the

landscape, with the White House to the north. 

The Jefferson Memorial is to the south, the Capitol to the east

and the Lincoln Memorial to the west.

A cross you ask?  Why a cross?  What about separation of

church and state? Yes, a cross; separation of church and state

was not, is not, in the Constitution.  So, read on. How interesting

and, no doubt, intended to carry a profound meaning for those

who bother to notice.

Praise be to God!  Within the monument itself are 898 steps and

50 landings.  As one climbs the steps and pauses at the landings

the memorial stones share a message..

On the 12th Landing is a prayer offered by the City of Baltimore ;

on the 20th is a memorial presented by some Chinese Christians;

on the 24th a presentation made by Sunday School children from New York and Philadelphia quoting Proverbs 10:7, Luke 18:16 and Proverbs 22:6. Praise be to God!

When the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on July 4th, 1848 deposited within it were many items including the Holy Bible presented by the Bible Society. Praise be to God!  Such was the discipline, the moral direction, and the spiritual mood given by the founder and first President of our unique democracy ‘One Nation, Under God.’

 I am awed by Washington ‘s prayer for America  Have you ever read it? Well, now is your unique opportunity, so read on!

  ‘ Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large.. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation.  Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.’

  Laus Deo !When one stops to observe the inscriptions found in public places all over our nation’s capitol, he or she will easily find the signature of God, as it is unmistakably inscribed everywhere you look. You may forget the width and height of ‘ Laus Deo ‘, its location, or the architects but no one who reads this will be able to forget its meaning, or these words: ‘Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.’  (Psalm 127: 1)