Author of this post:
CBS Volunteer 2014/15 Tamara
The funeral, as expected, was very interesting to see.
First, all the people gathered at the Funeral House decorated in red and black, the funeral colours. That is the house the deceased person or his family lived in, and there everyone could watch the corpse and say goodbye. We unfortunately came too late, so when we arrived there, the deceased’s work colleagues were just about to transport the corpse to the church. We all followed them, some by car, some by Moto bike (There are A LOT of Moto bikes in Navrongo, it seems almost everybody owns one) and what was interesting, as the car with the corpse passed, everybody outside had to stand up to show respect. Nobody remained seated.
In church, booklets about the deceased person were distributed, in which you could read his biography and several tributes, of his wife, his daughter, his nephews and nieces, his sisters and brothers, the programme of the funeral and some coloured pictures of him and his family.
Then,the priest preached, the family delivered speeches and the choir sang gospel songs. Of course, there was at least one bible quote in every speech and every text in the booklet. All in all an affecting ceremony, although maybe not as sad as I know funerals from home, rather religious. The fact that god loved the deceased more than his family did/does, that god’s decision may not be understood by the family but still has to be accepted and certainly is the right decision was mentioned several times. At some point, we went to stand outside the church and chat with other people who also did not have the patience to remain seated quietly for all this time.
People laughed and joked as always and I even asked Gordon (the director) whether it is okay when I laugh and his answer was “why not”. In Switzerland I think people would even feel offended if somebody laughs at a funeral.
After church, we all went to the place he would be buried and it was then, that I got to feel the depression of the event. As there were so many people, I couldn’t really see anything, so I stood behind in the shades with some others, and when they finished burying him, his sister came literally jumping, screaming and crying towards us and walked to the cars. Soon after, other women followed, crying very loudly, maybe more screaming then crying, it was a bit scaring.
Then, we all went back to the Funeral House to eat and drink and a group played traditional music from here to which another group danced the traditional dance, Nagla (I’m not sure this is the way to spell it).
Funerals here are a very important event for socializing! People meet friends they haven’t seen in a long time, and it is important to attend every funeral of a family member, friend and even people you maybe did not know well. Tuesday, there was even another funeral, which we missed because we were not informed, so we went to their house after the funeral just to show that we were there.
So, it was indeed a very interesting Saturday. May his soul rest in perfect peace.
As I don’t like to take pictures, I didn’t take a lot of them. This is the best one I could find. I hope you can see how many people attended the funeral, I heard some even came all the way from Accra, that is a full-day-travel!
This is the oldest church of Navrongo, it was built around 1908 or something I think and it’s made out of mud!