So, I'm sure you didn't all expect another one today but had quite the unexpected day. What began like normal - a maths lesson and an ICT lesson turned into one of the most challenging days of my life.
My host, Mr Nkrumah had told us we'd be busy today and that he'd be at the school which is the first time this has happened since we've been here so weren't whether it was weird or just normal. At 10:45 which is break time we told we were going with a group of teachers and students to a burial service. After asking some questions of whose burial service it quickly became a really difficult day. The girl who died was 7 and was in our KG2 class. Her name was Justine and she died on sunday very quickly of what they believe after the medical exam to have been some kind of poison.
Due to us not being able to leave till late we had missed the actual burial service so returned to the family home with all the funeral party. We say down on chairs set up outside the family house. One of the younger kids sat on my knee (thank god - you'll understand why in a bit). The teachers then all got up and we shook hands with the close family which is the proceedings at a Ghanaian funeral to pay your respects to the family then they get up from their seats and do the same thanking you for coming. Then, mr Nkrumah got up and said some kind words about their daughter and why we were there I think since it was all in twi. Then, it got really painful. The children we had taken had prepared a song to say goodbye to Justine. They all stood up and SK, one of the kids of the family I am staying with began the first line with the others carrying on the verse. This carried on for 6 verses with justine's name in the song singing directly to her. Every verse, more and more children were crying, just tears falling down their cheeks. The mother and father were screaming in pain as they cried and I unashamedly cried the entire way through.
And it was only to get harder. The kids sat down with one on m knee and the teacher of the child did what we would think is so bizarre and was the most difficult thing to sit through. She sat in front of the parents and began to read out the register to which the children there replied 'PRESENT'. 'Justine' 'ABSENT' 'Where is Justine?' ABSENT MADAM'. By this point watching what was a representation in the bluntest form of her no longer being at school and no longer with us was horrific. The mother ran off screaming because she couldn't take it. The child on my knee was squeezing my hand and I was holding on to her and wiping away hers and my tears. Then the teachers farewell ended with her handing all the child's school books to the father. I couldn't imagine anything more painful for him and the grief across his face I will never forget.
Every child and adult there was crying and the parents were screaming or couldn't move. Before we left the teachers went aside and we agreed on giving 50 Ghanaian cedis which equates to about $25 or £18. And that was my 2 hours at a Ghanaian burial service. Probably the most difficult 2 hours I've sat through watching. It obviously made me do a lot of thinking just to get all emotional for a second and made me very grateful that everyone in our family is so healthy and safe. Aws, Aled, james and Jon, if you're reading this please give all my cousins a big hug because it made me think of them so much today. Made me hope that noone I love gets ill and I love you all very much.
Thanks mam, dad and Nay for being there today when I was struggling going through it.
Take care everyone and give everyone an extra big hug from me.
Love to all,