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Ghana 2002


Stuart carefully trained me in the Paasaal morning greeting. It's quite unusual, consisting of a whole series of questions in a formulaic sequence, ending with an exclamation that it is all fine.

Person A: Bay deeya - How was yesterday?
Person B: Ee seeya - You got up?
Person A: Eee deeya pinaa - Did your house sleep?
Person B: Ee lepinee weleeyay - Was your sleeping-place good?
Person A: Oweleeyay re - It was fine!

We stayed in accommodation which is normally used for Bible and literacy training, when visitors come from the other villages to learn. It's scorchingly hot in the day in the north of Ghana, but thankfully a dry heat after the humidity in the south. The nights and mornings are much cooler, meaning we got up early to enjoy the best of the day. The morning is when everyone socialises.

How was yesterday? It was fine. People were very friendly, and they all wanted their portrait taken.

At 6am I wandered round Funsi greeting everybody, although the conversation dried up quite quickly after that initial barrage. Stuart fared much worse; he moved at the extreme velocity of nearly 250 yards per hour within the village, as every 100 yards he'd meet another person with six years of gossip to catch up on.

Funsi scene

Funsi is not the most beautiful of places, neither the traditional mud huts nor the modern concrete buildings are very attractive. What made it special was entirely the people, and particularly the children.

These children were crossbred with leafcutter ants. Chairs would magically find their way from building to truck to building.

The kids were so enthusiastic, so happy, and also so good to their parents. If you walked across the village in the sun with a suitcase, someone slightly smaller than the suitcase would come and carry it on their head for you. They would enjoy and love doing so.

After morning socialising, people would go to work on their farms. The crops are a few kilometers out of town so the animals can't get to them. The animals live in amongst and between the houses. By the afternoon there was a new greeting.

Person A: Bay weesee - How is the sun?
Person B: Eee weesee weleeyay - Is your sun fine?
Person A: O weleeyay re - It's fine.

I went to visit the agriculture project, to learn more about the difficulties of village life, and what is being done to solve them.


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