Last week, I had the opportunity to witness a Ghanaian funeral memorial service. It looked less like a funeral and more like the best 4th of July block party ever. Stacks of PA speakers acted as landmarks for the end of the road and the beginning of the celebration. Canvas tents covered the streets for blocks, shielding the assorted plastic tables and chairs from the Sub-Saharan sun. There was an abundance of traditional ghanaian food and beer.
As is custom, we met and shook hands with the entire family of the deceased man, who were positioned off of the street in the backyard of an adjacent house. We met the deceased’s mother, who was wearing all black and was mourning and visibly upset. It’s always hard for a mother to bury her child, and this is emphasized as an especially grievous event in Ghanaian culture. That said, her mourning sentiments was an exception to the overall celebrative demeanor of the memorial.