#WBC2020 – How Funeral Rites are Performed in Ghana

When a person dies in most communities in the Ghana, especially in the Greater Accra Region, the immediate family is informed.

While the body of the deceased is kept at the morgue, the family organises a one week-celebration to announce the date for the funeral. People who attend this ceremony may be very close friends, neighbours, work colleagues among others. This particular celebration is an entire day’s event. Individuals, who pass through this ceremony, may make donations of money, bottled water, beverages and food items to be used by the family during the actual funeral rites. Those who pass through this celebration are lightly refreshed with food and beverages.

On the scheduled date of the funeral, the corpse is laid in state (mostly in the family’s residence) at dawn on Saturday (mostly). After a brief ceremony with close family, the body is then made available for viewing by guests and attendants of the funeral. If the deceased was a Christian, church songs are normally sang during the filing past.

A church service may be organised for the individual at home. If that happens, the deceased may still be available for viewing. If the memorial service takes place in the church, the body is placed in the casket and transported to the church building. A short service is organised where songs are sang, prayers are said and tributes read by family, work colleagues, friends etc.

After the church service, the casket is lifted and taken to the burial grounds for internment. The dead may be buried in the city/town that he/she resided or could be transported to their hometown which could be several miles away from where funeral is taking place. At the cemetery, brief rites are performed before the body is lowered to the ground. Wreaths are then laid and final prayers are said amidst wailing and weeping.

The family and guests then move to a chosen venue where they are treated to some form of refreshment. Donations are made to the deceased’s family by the guests. A table is set where the donor makes the donation and their details are recorded. That information is furnished to an announcer/master of ceremony who mentions it through the microphone and publicly acknowledges the donor. This goes on till the donations stop coming in.

The next day, which is normally a Sunday, close family and friends attend a thanksgiving service at the deceased’s church. This is done to thank God for a safe burial. Prayers of protection, strength and good health are said for the family.

A ‘gbonyo’ or ‘dead’ party is organised after the church service for the family and the guests. Meals and beverages are served and the latest music is played over loud speakers and people dance.

The above is the general structure for most funerals in Ghana but it could vary depending on the status of the individual in the society (chiefs and other traditional leaders), the mode of death (accident, natural), religion (Islamic funerals are totally different) and their age (young or old).

Funerals in most communities in Ghana are known to be costly and lucrative for those in the business. Example caterers, masters of ceremonies, professional mourners etc. Recent times have seen a lot of families resorting to private burials due to the covid-19 because a bann has been placed on large gatherings. This is causing low revenue generation to those in this business.

How are funerals organised in your community? Let us know 😊

***This is 14/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is share about one cultural aspect from your community or country.***

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#WBC2020 – 5 Akan Proverbs and their Meanings

This post has got me scratching my head real hard because I am not fluent in my own local language known as Ewe (pronounced ‘Eh-ve’), reminding me of Steve Harvey’s attempt at pronouncing it on Family Feud. Ewe is the language spoken by the people from the Volta Region, which is on the eastern coast of Ghana, sharing a border with Togo. Ghana has 16 of these regions.

I am, therefore, going to list five Akan/Twi (pronounced T-wiii) which is the most widely spoken language in Ghana.

1. Obi nkyere akwadaa Nyame. Literal translation: Nobody teaches the child who God is. Which means: Innately, we (including a child) know the existence of a Creator/God.

2. Aboa a onni dua no, Nyame na opra ne ho. Literal translation: For the tail-less animal, God cleans/sweeps his body. Meaning: Vulnerable people have a special place in God’s heart. He takes care of them.

3. Praye se wo yi bako a na ebu: wokabomu a emmu. Literal translation: It is easier to break a broomstick than the whole bunch. Meaning: In unity lies strength/there is strength in togetherness.

4. Anoma aantu a, obua da. Literal translation: If a bird doesn’t fly, it goes hungry. Meaning: One needs to work or they’ll go hungry.

5. Kwatereakwa se obema wo ntoma a tie ne ding. Literal translation: If a naked man/woman promises to give you a cloth, just listen to his name. 😂 Meaning: You cannot give what you do not have. If the naked man had any clothes, he would have worn it himself 😂😂😂

On this note, do you have any proverbs in your language you’d like to share? Please do so.

***This is 11/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is share 5 proverbs in your vernacular and what they mean.***

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#WBC2020 – 4 Social Media Accounts I Follow & Why

Limiting the number of social media accounts I follow to only 4, in this post, is almost tortuous but here we go:

1. Heather Lindsey is a preacher, fashionista, vegan, mother of three and a wife. You can get a sense of her life through her posts. She is truly an inspiration to young women and I admire how she confidently posts everything (almost) about herself, family, husband and children on social media. She has a huge following and most of her posts go viral. I follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

2. Dromobaby is a page I discovered not too long ago but have succeeded in watching almost every video on their page. They feature women and husbands (sometimes) who share stories about their pregnancy journey. Some of the guests they feature are hilarious and others share sad stories. One that I wouldn’t forget in while is a woman who lost her twins after she delivered them. 😥😥 They feature Ghanaians (mostly) and I follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

3. BabiesbyBazal, Coos_n_Clicks, ElomAyayee, Twinkle_toes_inc (they are four different pages 😄)- these are businesses that take maternity shoots and family photos as well as photos of babies when they are as young as a week old till when they are about eight or nine or so. I love the creativity behind those shoots. The end product of the shoots are pretty and surreal that they will make you feel like having babies. 🙃They are all Ghanaian brands and I follow these pages on Instagram and Facebook.

4. Liezer-legacy productions – I love comedy and this page shares skits of some hilarious individuals/comedians that we have in Ghana. The recent satirical quiz they produce is so funny that it trends on YouTube. I follow them on Facebook and I’ve subscribed to their YouTube channel as well.

**Can I add my Church’s social media accounts or you are tired? 😂😂😂

Which social media accounts do you follow and why? Do share.

***This is 9/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is 4 Social Media accounts and why you follow them.***

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#WinterABC2020 – Kenkey Tales

Ghana is blessed with some amazing cuisines. I’m not much of an explorer when it comes to food and I only realised how weird our food may to other nationals when a Zambian friend commented,

“In Ghana you guys mix everything. How can you add fish and meat to one soup? And your rice has all those vegetables. How do you call that slimy thing with fish and meat?”

“Okro?” I answered.

I was culturally shocked at the unavailability of spice in most of the Zambian meals I tasted too.

“Where did all the pepper go?”

Implying hot spice may be a West African thing?🤷🏿‍♀️

Anyway, my favourite Ghanaian meal is kenkey (made from a combination of fermented and unfermented corn wrapped in corn husk). It has this ‘biting’ taste after it has been boiled for several hours. It’s commonly eaten by the people on the coast.

I see how it is prepared but I haven’t and do not intend to make at home. I prefer to buy it and it’s a common ‘street food.’

Kenkey goes very well with spicy ground pepper which could be green, red or yellow (any colour you want) and black pepper (known locally as shito). For the proteins, it is normally eaten with fried fish and shrimps or omelettes, or tinned sardines and corned beef.

How our ancestors discovered such a meal baffles me and when you have kenkey for breakfast, you may not have to worry about lunch.

Kenkey can also be eaten with soup and that slimy thing – yes, okro.

**Cover image: pinterest

***This is 3/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is to write about your favourite local food.***

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My Rants

I love my country. I listen to the radio a lot and read stuff on social media. Do you know the feeling that makes you love and hate something at the same time? That is how I feel about content of these media platforms sometimes – they wear out.

Naturally, humans are hard to please but Ghanaians on these media platforms (in my opinion) are the hardest to please. There are two many ‘experts’ and this era has made them popular.

When Ghana started recording some covid-19 cases, the ‘experts’ started advising the president.

Ghanaians:

The president should close our borders,”

“He should quarantine all travelers,”

“He should lock the nation down,”

Then the President called for a partial lockdown in some parts of the country.

Ghanaians:

“The president is two weeks late,”

“Oh, why did he call for a partial lockdown. It should have been a total lockdown,”

“Why didn’t he put in immediate measures to prevent people from travelling to other parts of the country,”

“The president did not explain what a partial lockdown is that is the reason our markets were flooded prior to the lockdown,”

“The lockdown should have been immediate. Why did he announce it on Friday only for it to take effect on Monday,”

Now that the partial lockdown has been implemented for three weeks,

Ghanaians:

“Ghana is not developed for the president to lock us down in this manner. The people will die of hunger,”

“The president promised us food. We want raw rice and oil. We don’t want it cooked,”

“Our economy (90%) is mostly informal. Why lock us in our homes for 3 weeks. What does the government want us to eat?”

“Our markets are dirty. The government should use this period to clean,”

The President will address the nation later tonight. I’m not too sure what he has decided to do since the ‘experts’ are calling for him to revise Ghana’s lockdown model. I do not envy the president.

PS: How do you call people who follow you on social media only to unfollow when you are not looking. They wear me out too!

*20th post of the 21 day lock down blog challenge and the writing prompt is: Rant about something*

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5 Items on my Bucket List

Bucket lists are activities or ideas one wishes to implement before they die. Do I have five things I would like to do before I die? That is quite challenging to answer but for now, these activities are what come to mind:

  1. Take a leisure walk on the Osu-Oxford street – One day, I would like to dress casually, preferably, put on a simple pair of slippers and take a walk on the Osu Oxford Street. To readers who are not familiar with this neighbourhood, Osu Oxford Street in Accra-Ghana, is your typical urban area that has good restaurants lined up on both sides of the street. I would love to sample all the foods served in the eating places lined up on this street.
  2. Become a Full-time Blogger – Another thing I would like to do at a point in time is to be a full-time blogger. I dream of keeping several blogs on different subjects and posting content on them regularly. I will not care too much about the incentives that come with blogging but I will only write because I love it when people read what I have shared.
  3. Author a Christian Novel – I would love to be a renowned author of a Christian novel that would have its setting right here in Ghana. This is a project I have been contemplating on undertaking for a while but I haven’t put into action yet.
  4. Take a real vacation – I dream of taking a long vacation alone (to precede the writing on my novel, hence, would meditate and come up with a concept) or with my husband (to have the honeymoon that we haven’t had yet). I do not have a destination in mind even though the location should have an element of water (beach or pool).
  5. To be able to walk around freely – Now, this wouldn’t have been on my bucket list a few weeks ago but due to what the world is currently facing, walking freely, breathing good air and going wherever you want to go to without thinking of what you are inhaling can be on a bucket list. Can’t it?

This post is the second of the 21-day lock down blogging challenge asking bloggers to list five items on their bucket list.

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An Open-Letter to the President of Ghana

Dear Sir,

I saw you celebrated your 76th birthday a few days ago and we are grateful to God for your life and giving you good health. How are you doing? Genuinely? I am concerned about how you must be feeling in these times because the past few weeks have been very challenging for the citizens of your country. I suspect you’ve also not had it easy as this global pandemic has brought everything to a standstill and now, it’s almost impossible to predict how the next few weeks or months are going to be like.

As a Ghanaian who has been observing you and your government in the last three years or so, there are a number of plans and policies that you put in place that did not sit well with me at all. I have gotten angry at some of the news headlines and as a floating voter, I get convinced that you are not one of the people I will be considering in the next elections.

In the past few weeks, however, I think the number of people who have fallen in love with you have increased tremendously. Like many others, I have watched how you seem to calm a lot of nerves with your addresses in the wake of the covid-19. I see admiration and love for you and your government and your last address to the nation, which you called for a partial lock down and also stated that you knew how to bring the economy back to life but do not how to bring back the people of this country has really caught on with the masses. You also pledged to give your three-month salary to the fund that has been set up to fight the virus. Not forgetting the National Day of Prayer and Fasting that was held a few days back. They have been impressive and from our various lock down locations, we watch on to see how you and your government will stop this virus from ravaging this country.

Sometimes I wish protocols will be put aside and more laboratories set up to test for the virus. I wish there could be a mass testing for all the citizens who have been contact traced and I would also love to know if there is the community spread of the virus.

I continue to pray for you each day and I hope God gives you the wisdom to govern and that, this period passes on without causing too much damage to lives and the country’s economy. May God continue to protect and remember to read Psalm 91.

Yours sincerely,

This post is the first of the 21-day lock down blogging challenge asking bloggers to write a letter to someone, anyone.

5 Reasons Online Church Services may not be for All

All of a sudden, Sundays or Saturdays do not imply wearing one’s favourite dress, leaving home and finding a physical location where we are ushered to a seat to pray, sing, dance, listen to a sermon and fellowship. In the last couple of days, attending a church service, for a lot of people, has a whole new meaning which implies turning on your Facebook or Youtube or Twitter and watching your Pastors preach, thanks to the Covid-19.

Even though a lot of people are quite excited about ‘churching’ online, there exist some challenges or conditions that make this mode of worshiping not suitable for everyone and here are some of the reasons:

  1. Internet and Smartphone Accessibility: This is the truth. A number of us in Africa do not have access to the internet or the electronic device that enables us to access the internet (now powering our church services). Internet accessibility /usage is mostly common in the urban areas and quite limited to a specific age group (usually the youth). According to the Africa Internet User Stats, only 37.8 % of Ghana’s population has access to the internet. Out of the population that has access to the internet, 5 million are Facebook subscribers. As a social media manager for my church, when I shared the mode through which the church was going to worship now, the question someone posted was, “Are we now cutting off those who do not have smart devices?
  2. The cost of streaming online: According to another report compiled in 2018 by the Alliance for Affordable Internet, Ghana’s internet cost is the fourth cheapest in West Africa but genuinely, how many people can afford to stream an hour or two’s service online without checking their remaining data or receiving notification for the telecommunication network on the amount of data they have consumed. Data cost does not provide individuals the peace of mind to enjoy the church services online. For the church to also constantly stream online, they need to re-strategize and that may include getting sophisticated devices to produce quality videos/streams. This may come at an extra cost and how many churches can afford that?
  3. The level of distraction is higher for the viewer: Last week Sunday, I vowed in my heart to involve myself fully when my church started streaming. I successfully prayed and sang and immediately the sermon began, there was a sort of disruption from the internet providers making the viewing difficult. It was at that point that my little girl started disturbing to which I assumed that she was hungry. That was how I ended up in the kitchen to prepare food for her and everyone and when I got back, the service had ended.
  4. There is some amount of belonging when we meet physically: After working hard all week, some of us genuinely look forward to getting into a physical space to pray, sing, listen to a sermon and meet other members to fellowship. Sometimes, a word from another church member may encourage you or someone really singing and crying during prayers may touch your heart to also seek God earnestly. So how do we ensure we fellowship on these virtual platforms? What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.Psalm 55:14
  5. Some churches and pastors are late to the online party: In the past few weeks, I can almost feel some sort of awkwardness and shakiness in a number of pastors who, hitherto this pandemic, were very confident standing in front of large gatherings to preach. It seems nerve-wracking as some of these pastors, who were born before the era of social media, are now being forced to stand in front of cameras and preach to an empty auditorium or office of a sort. Some churches did not really take the effort to build an online community and now that most services need to be held online, there is some struggle to even get members to watch.

This period, indeed, is very unusual (and we pray it ends soon) but there are several lessons that needs to be picked up by individuals, churches, Christians etc. We pray that whatever lessons we pick up now will be used to make our lives better after this global pandemic. Remember to pray for the world.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Data Sources: Internet World Stats dot com

Alliance for Affordable Internet (2018)

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Guest Post: Who is Your King?

In Africa and the world, the Ashanti Kingdom is one of the oldest surviving empires. Found in modern-day Ghana, the kingdom covers the Ashanti region, of course,  that explains its name. The Ashanti Kingdom is so vast, it stretches into other regions of the country. They were particularly known for their wealth in gold and other natural resources, past military achievements and their beautiful culture.

In the past, when a newly installed Asante Hene (Ashanti King) assumed the throne, he made a peculiar demand. He sent an order out to all who owned lands in the area considered as part of the Kingdom. The order – landowners were made to pay a levy to the Asante Hene before a set time. Defaulters automatically lost ownership of their property.

Just to let you know how powerful the Kingdom is, permit me to narrate a more recent event. This happened when the Asante Hene lost his mother, the Queen Mother. As part of the tradition, they organised a befitting burial for the Queen Mother and a curfew was declared. On a particular night, from dusk to dawn, no soul was supposed to be found on particular outlined streets in the Kingdom. That was the night the body of the Queen was conveyed to be washed and embalmed for the final burial.

The interesting thing that everyone living in that part of the country, no matter your nationality, is subject to the rules of the Asante Hene and his Kingdom. This has worked well through the years and that is synonymous to the Christian life of whoever you obey, you are subject to.

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Romans 6:12 KJV‬‬‬‬

Today, many Christians struggle because they live double lives. They are struggling with addictions and secret sins. They profess Jesus Christ as Lord but are not ready to live as followers of Christ. They will be in church on Sunday mornings and the local club in the evenings. Christians do not even have Christian friends because they find them boring. We serve the Lord God but are fully subject to secret sins, addictions and love for money.

If every single decision you make in your life is based on how much money is involved and what you are going to earn for yourself, you are possibly serving money. If there is a pet sin that controls you, such that you are unable to stop, you are in servitude to this sin and you need to turn fully to Christ. The good book says…

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Romans 6:16 KJV‬‬‬‬

We cannot serve two masters. Definitely, one will be considered greater than the other. Consider this seriously and be guided by the Word…

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24 KJV‬‬‬‬

If God is your king, your whole world should be ruled by Him and that includes every single aspect of your life. The Word of God is a complete manual. King Solomon said that there is no new thing under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). And in fact, men have lived before us who had the same challenges as we face today. Everything recorded in the Bible is very much relevant today. Decide to live by it, and allow yourself to be guided by the Creator of the universe. Ask yourself this all-important question:

Who is my King?

This is a Guest Post submitted by Nimuah Tarko. Nimuah is a Ghanaian, a passionate Christian Blogger, a church worker, a husband, a God lover and recently a father. He is the Blog Administrator of Wisdom Treasures. 

Book Review: Strategies for Prayer

Strategies for Prayer by Dag Heward-Mills is a 40-page book, very succinct, straight-to-the-point, yet, makes some powerful revelations on the need for Christians to pray and do it effectively. It can easily be read at a sitting, but, it is important to go through this book slowly, so, to digest its content and apply it to one’s prayer life.

The book, divided into four chapters, introduces the reader to the Daniel’s Principles of Prayer and also, The Timothy, Ephesians and Lord’s prayer formula. What the first chapter does is to admonish Christians, among other things, that they are never too big, blessed or busy to pray.  It primarily establishes the importance of prayer to the life of the believer.

In the subsequent chapters, the reader is introduced to the other prayer strategies/formula. The book also raises important subjects like the need to pray for our leaders, praying always and for long hours which also summarises the Timothian Prayer in Chapter 2 of the book. The other two chapters introduce Ephesians 1 and Matthew 6 as prayer guides/strategies for the Christian.

Bishop Dag, as an author, puts his points in plain language probably for easy memorisation. If you have ever listened to any of his sermons, you’d realise he writes just like the way he speaks – concise, straightforward and instructive. He also makes emphases on some of his points by relating them to his personal life experiences. As a reader, I couldn’t help but chuckle at some of the scenarios he provided in the book. One of such was when he recalled his days as a medical student with a tight schedule but still made time to pray. On one of those occasions, he nearly walked into a wall because he was tired. Although this was easy to picture, it drives home the point that he consciously made time to pray and gave himself no excuse and looking at where he is now, that serves as a source of motivation for the reader.

The aim of the book was to ginger the reader to adopt praying strategies which will enable him/her to pray for long hours and that was successfully achieved. As Christians, we may have several reasons for not praying and even reading, the author recognises that, therefore, he provides several motivations in a few pages to help us adopt a healthy prayer life. This book is highly recommended for anyone having a hard time praying and for long hours. It is also great for Christians of all ages and for people who do not want to read huge volumes of books.

There were some powerful quotes in the book but below are three of them:

  • “My friend, if you cannot find something to thank God for, for at least ten minutes, then you have an ungrateful heart.”
  • “If you want to have peace and confidence in this life, spend time praying that the will of God comes to pass in your life.”dag

 

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