GHANIAN CHRISTMAS THOUGHTS

      

                A GHANIAN CHRISTMAS SADNESS!

       While many of us are anxiously waiting or opening our Christmas gifts, in Ghana, a family anxiously awaits the tense news of a loved ones’ condition. My good friend, Kwame, sent money to his family for two chickens. One to be eaten on their Happy Christmas Day & the other on the next day, Boxing Day.  The chickens were costing $28.00 each in American money.  Meanwhile, his youngest daughter, Abena (Tuesday’s child), is taken to hospital with upper & lower GI complaints.  Luckily the Happy Christmas money has bought medical care, instead of annual chickens for these days.  The child would have died, without the medical attention, as she is already too weak.  In a poor part of the world children die all the time, due to unclean drinking water.  In these streams, clothes are washed, as well as their bodies, etc.  Kwame explained that they take their drinking water from the top of stream.  It is not boiled, as he explained, “As what good is it, as children are in school 8 hrs. a day.”  That water is not treated or boiled. It is hard to survive in Ghana. Staying alive in Africa is a “Miracle”, as Kwame says.! Being poor in Ghana, is a death sentence!  No money, no medical care!  Kwame’s three sisters died recently.  Money could not reach the one soon enough.  She died awaiting medical attention!  So sad! The other two sisters’ death may have been preventable, as well. We here in this country, do not always appreciate the simple necessities, that sustain life in each & everyone of us!  As Kwame is the tree of his tribe, everyone looks to him for help.  It is overwhelming, as he tries to save his family, singlehandedly!

So now, we wait.  We know that the Christ Child, will sustain & direct us, what ever the outcome.  We pray that this 6 year olds’ precious life will be spared.  So as we celebrate this joyous season, let us not forget the less fortunate among us!  Please offer prayers for little Abena & the many angels like her!

            MERRY CHRISTMAS!   AFE HYIAPAOO!

 A GHANIAN CHRISTMAS

Christmas in Ghana & other parts of Africa, are celebrated pretty much the same, as an American Christmas.  Names of things are changed as well as available products for the season. From the first week in Advent, churches & homes are decorated for Christmas! The day after Christmas is Boxing Day, as celebrated in other countries of English influence.  Their Santa Claus is called Father Christmas, who brings gifts to place under a fir tree in the corner of the home. He places other gifts in the childrens’ stockings. Decorations include pine branches, festive seasonal flowers on the tree with some bought decorations.  It is warm & sometimes rainy at this time of year. A prosperous cocoa harvest ensures extra money to spare.  All the farmers & miners come home to celebrate with family on Christmas Eve. School children are on holiday. On Christmas Eve, they walk down the streets singing carols & shouting “Christ is Coming!” In church, a pageant is prepared, for the evening. The church is decorated with pine & palm trees with lighted candles on the branches. Everyone dresses in native or Western dress. The Ghanians go to church bringing gifts or “love offerings to place on the altar, by communion table. Hymns are sung.  Then they visit families & friends after the service. On Christmas Day, everyone dresses as angels & sing Christmas Carols. They will also attend church again. The Ghanians are faithful worshippers & attend church every day! After the service, everyone returns home. A feast is served consisting of rice, meats, porridge, okra soup or stew & a yam paste called fufu. Fufu is eaten by placing hand in dough & dipping the fufu in the stew.   It is served outside the house. They also will visit friends, as we do.

Boxing Day, the celebration continues. A feast continues on this day. On New Years Eve, fireworks begin & end on New Year’s Day!

 

ADDING A PERSONAL NOTE!

Last year, I purchased clothing & other items for the family.  I asked Kwame’s wife for measurements. Little Kofi aged 7 years at that time, had a waist size of a 4 year old. No wonder they need a “Miracle”!  If starvation doesn’t kill them, the unclean water will. Now the hardship is that DADA has been gone for 6 years.  The children tell Kwame that they don’t remember him anymore. Such a sacrifice to leave loved ones & come to a new world to work, so they will have food. Now bringing them to America is blocked by the Embassy, as they were too poor to get legal documentation of their marriage. The church recognizes the marriage. We have come so far that a church’s word is not good enough!  Heaven help us!

  

           GHANIAN NAMING SYSTEM

Day of week child is born:

            FEMALE        MALE

SUNDAY-   Akosua         Kwasi

M0NDAY-   Adwoa          Kwadwa        

TUESDAY-  Abena          Kwabena  

WEDNESDAY- Akua       Kwaku

THURSDAY- Yaa           Yaw

FRIDAY- Afuah            Kofi

SATURDAY-Ama          Kwame

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WORDS OF WISDOM

WORDS OF WISDOM- A letter to my children & to all that will be moved by these sage words!

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we are all concentrating on the biggie!  At Christmastime, I know all of you will be where you want to be & will have enjoyable times with some family & friends.  Some will experience a less fulfilling time, as in the past, as alternative plans have been made. The alternative celebration includes myself & others in similar circumstances. In fact, an appearance of one individual, would be most welcome, especially for one, who has received little company since before August. Visitations are most important to shut-ins, to keep them in contact with daily life.  My husband was the biggest testimony of that, as he lay dying, he revived to live longer with each visit from someone.  Visits were sparse!  What a difference they would have made if oftener.

I cannot speak enough to the topic of giving yourself, your time, your talents!  It does make a difference!  Did it occur, that when will serve your abundance of food, to offer a platter to a lonely neighbor or someone in need?  Or during this holiday season, to reach out to a shut-in or lonely senior in need of stimulation?  So little is expected, but we live by example. Our children today are so used to entitlements that there needs to be opportunity to serve others. Receiving without the opportunity of giving back, erodes & corrupts the soul, a well known psychologist has noted! So it is my wish this holiday season, that you extend yourself & family to someone less fortunate. It is a season for giving, but giving your heart, yourself, is the most generous, loved gifts! You will not bankrupt your budget for a year either!  This has been my life, giving of self, to others. So I may have chosen a road less traveled sometimes, but it has made all the difference, as Robert Frost once wrote. 

Now is the time to stop looking back & looking to the future.  But most importantly the present, as that is all you have now,  Do not let it pass through your fingers unnoticed, for tomorrow you will weep, for what you had & lost!

Christmas is a time, where we all want to be home again. But no one can truly go home again.  As the song goes, “I’ll be home for Christmas, but only in my dreams!’  I don’t think I can realistically come home again.  It is too bittersweet.  My home is here.

So make merry, enjoy the holidays!  As times are ever changing, so is your life.  It is all ahead of you.  What are you going to REALLY DO WITH IT?

MERRY CHRISTMAS WITH GOD’S BLESSINGS FOR A HAPPY JOYOUS NEW YEAR!

CARPE DIEM!  SEIZE THE DAY!