Sunday, March 18, 2007

A funeral march full of merriment

It was Saturday and we were laying on the beach at Kokrobite (the same beach west of Accra that Janet wrote about in an earlier entry). We had been for a swim and had lunch, and were now soaking up the sun and reading books.

Suddenly there was a commotion to our right. I turned to look that way down the beach, and there was a swarm of yelping and laughing people running toward us. I noticed the excited children first – dozens of them laughing and running along the shore. Then I saw a yellow coffin hoisted in the air above the crowd. Several people were holding it above their heads and running with down the beach, amidst the crowd.

It was a like a group of schoolboys holding their coach aloft as they raced around the field to celebrate a championship victory.

It was like a scene from an epic movie, watching these children, this yellow coffin held aloft, the women in black holding up the ends of their dresses as they ran to keep up with the crowd. The mid-day heat, the sights and sounds of waves crashing against the shore as they ran by us. All of this excitement, this merriment and celebration…in a funeral procession. What a way to go!

When they had passed by, I turned to Janet and said, “OK. I’ve seen everything now. I can get back on the plane, head home to Canada, and say my trip to Ghana was complete.”

- Mark


Anonymous said...

Mark and Janet, Your Uncle John will have to read this blog. Very interesting how different cultures respect the dead. We all have our special ways and that is how they want to express their grief. I am sure it is as difficult for them as it is for others.
Love, Mummy and Daddy

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark and Janet,

That was funny Mark when you said you had seen everything after witnessing the "funeral procession." I'm always fascinated and moved when Saint Johner's stop their cars as a sign of respect when they see a funeral procession. Janet I hope to get up to Hampton tomorrow with mom to go the Church potluck your mom is organizing. I'll bring some staples that you need for your project.

Love, Jen

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark and Janet,
I especially enjoyed this story and of all of the many unique customs I have heard of and experienced in the funeral business over the years this is one that I will not soon forget!