Please excuse grammar, spelling, etc.
5 am comes quickly when you have a three year old sleeping in your bed. Laurel woke up between 3 and 3:30 asking to sleep in her parents room. I told her she had been sleeping in my bed all night and wait till morning. Every five minutes. Can I go now? I told her in an hour. We both fell back asleep, then my alarm went off. She lay motionless. I pressed snooze. 9 or 10 minutes later. The alarm again. She woke up and said, 'now can I go?'. Yes.
6:30 and we (uncle George, dad, and myself) are off to the funeral (celebration of life).
There is Christian programming on the radio - Pray before you work a key message.
Along the highway there are city workers cleaning the ditches. For the first time I saw people running. I am not sure why this surprised me. I think I have seen half a dozen or so people (one woman).
We picked up Rita and continue on our way. The three of them converse while I look out the window. There is no use in trying to figure out what they are talking about.
Yesterday Bright asked me if I speak Ewe (pronounced eh-way or eh-vay). No. Even though it is my parents first language. I did not pick it up as a child. I asked why everyone here speaks English. They learn it in school.
We passed by Ghallywood Academy of Film Acting. A place where movies are filmed. Half way we stopped for a drink at First Star Bar (attached to hotel and restaurant) Then a quick stop at a market. Rita bought tomatoes.
Over the Lower Volta River (just down a little way the river meets the sea).
Another stop at a market. Here we also picked up one of my cousins, Patricia.
We arrived at the village 9:20.
We got out of the car and those sitting outside got up and started running towards us. They gave us all hugs. I don't think they knew who I was. There was my aunt Afi her daughter, Aku, and my aunt Janet. My dad said this is Mavis and they all hugged me again. My cousin Esi was there as well.
We sat outside by a tree. My uncle Emmanuel came out (on my dad's side) and greeted me as well.
They were preparing lunch while we sat by the tree. In the distance drumming could be heard. The funeral was taking place (all day). Many people stopped and said their greetings as they were either headed to or from the funeral.
We ate, I'm guessing around noon. After lunch I held baby Annie for awhile under another tree.
A little later we walked through the village. I met many people along the way. Some relatives. Some not. We stopped at a house and were invited in. We sat in a circle while everyone spoke of James (the deceased). One of the men, George, presented everyone with a shot (some partook, some didn't).
I took a few pictures at the request of Christopher (relative on my mom's side).
After this I saw for the first time (everything is new to me) my grandmother's house. Four of my aunties were inside.
After meeting them, we walked back to the house my dad grew up in (the one where everyone was sitting).
More people were gathered. My cousin Rita brought me a chair. It was a lounge chair owned by my grandfather. After sitting for a while some aunties were going to dance at the celebration. I went with them and watched from a bench at the back. After a while my dad and uncle George came by to pay their respects.
We left shortly after (3:40). This time my cousin Esi came with us. It was cosy in the back seat to say the least. We made a few stops here and there to buy more food. Traffic was heavy. We made a stop in Accra at the mall and finally arrived home at 8:30pm.
The day was tiring not b/c of the drive or b/c of the heat. It was tiring trying to remember names and faces and match those names to the faces later on.
It was a great day.
Same routine with Laurel. She has always been an early bird.
Despite being tired from the day before, I got up around 7:30. The gang was going to church and I decided to go along. 45 min before church started and we were not even close to being ready. We got ready in record time. The church was within walking distance. We passed by my cousins' house. Rita (a different cousin from the other one mentioned previously) came along with us. Bright and Colins joined later.
It was around 9:15 when we got to church. We made our way to the middle rows. I did not notice, but an usher was trying to motion Adam to the men's side. He sat with us. Adam only realized this afterwards. The men were on one side, women and small children in the middle, and kids on the otherwise. The kids were all really well behaved. I think this surprised us all.
We came in the middle of what I thought was the sermon. But after experiencing three hours of church today, it now seems more like a bible study. The subject was on fasting and prayer. I found it hard to understand sometimes. A women would speak in English (she had an accent - although I'm not sure where she is from) and a man would translate. His mic was way too loud.
After she finished the lesson, worship began. It was very lively. Certainly nothing like the baptist church I go to in Saskatoon. I can't remember if it was the first or second song, but a line of women got up and were dancing at the front. When they were done, the men did the same.
The sermon began after this. The lead Paster would speak then the translator would speak in turn. He spoke of the Spirit.
More music and more preaching. I'm not entirely sure what type of church it was, i.e. baptist, pentecostal, etc, but at one point the Paster pointed to people in the congregation to come up and he prayed over them. For some he poured oil over their head or face, then proceeded to pray. First an older lady (she has malaria), a few others including children, then he pointed to my sisters family (they had met the day before). So they went up and he prayed over them. When the kids came back all they said was, 'that was loud'. He prayed over a few more people.
When this was complete he went back to his message. Followed by more worship.
At some point he asked the Canadians whom he had met the day before to stand and be recognized. Adam stood alone as the others were outside. They were tired and went for fresh air. The Paster welcomed them.
Near the end he asked if there were any new comers. A few people got up. My cousin Esi turned to me and said let's go up. The Paster asked our names and whether we were new comers or guests. There were two new members and three guests. I was the last to speak. 'I can tell by the way you speak, you are from Canada.'
A round of applause for us all. Then we sat down.
After the service, Colins and Bright walked us home.
The afternoon was full of activity. After lunch the kids played outside for much of the day. Liam played soccer for what seemed like hours just outside the house. There are soccer nets set up behind the house and apparently every Sunday afternoon a group of kids play (the one team was dressed with the same jersey, the other were kids from around the neighbourhood - no jerseys).
My cousin Mercy came for a visit. She and my sister met when Ivy was here in 1992 (although Mercy remembers her as a child). She brought along her son Kevin Clarke. He just turned five months yesterday.
I did some laundry. Mercy took our measurements. We will pick up fabric at some point and have shirts, skirts, and or dresses made. We have flowing water today!
I feel as though I am forgetting something. If it comes to me I will write about it later.
On day 9 when we stopped for a drink. We were served by a girl named Mavis. You don't hear that too often. My dad and uncle teased her the whole time.
Today: Like most, I'm trying to figure things out. Sometimes that's day by day, moment by moment, and even breath by breath.