Collection #3: Funeral Ceremony

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In Accra, the huts clump together like scales on a fish. Chickens travel through dirt gutters that run from one side of the district to another, and baby goats brush together as they scamper freely past local street vendors.

In a clearing at the center of the district, I was brought to a large, open tent, where Ghanaians (dressed in matching blue clothing) clapped their hands and sang in their native tongue. Women sat in benches that formed the perimeter of a square. Outside the square, the local men beat their drums. The women periodically rose from their seats, tapped their friends on the shoulder, and violently “flapped” their arms in tandem to the poly-rhythmic sounds rising from the hands of their husbands.

Sweat dripped down the head of the local priest as he danced in the center of the ceremony. His arms jerked forward and back, his pelvis thrusting upwards in urgent motions. He opened his palms toward the ground, pumping them up and down to symbolize the retrieval of life from the earth.

The women grabbed my arms and pulled me into the center, where I “flapped” to small, rhythmic steps and embraced the energy rising up my legs and into my pelvis.

At last, at the conclusion of this ceremony, the recently-deceased acquired admission into the Ancestral World.

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