The President of Ghana has died. The 'King of Peace' and a very well respected leader of the country has passed away. I found out this afternoon in a little shack of a shop that my friend Angela keeps as a way of making a living. I went to visit her after work and knew something was not quite right by the way she was not her bubbling, smiley, hugging and dragging me into her shop self. The shack shop next door had attached some speakers to their radio and were blaring out the national station out for all passers by to hear. This is big news in Ghana.
We listened for a while, my friend welling up in tears and her sister and sitttting solemn side by side, only their brother livened things up with a few imitations of the president giving speeches that he could remember word by word which were pretty funny so I couldn't help a giggle. The mood matched the big grey clouds that were bubbling in the deep blue sky threatening a huge storm. They were being more open about politics with me now than they have been at all since I've known them. They said they felt confident with the countries strong leader, and that he was key to Ghana's development. But his death now leaves question mark over many things for Ghana's future, and certainly over the countries upcoming elections.
Being in a country where politics as is important to people as the food they eat, especially because of the important link between the two, an event like this in the months running up to the elections, is an interesting thing to witness. I suppose we're just lukcy to be in a country where he died due to natural causes rather than by being shot or assasinated!
I don't know much else about it all to be honest, I decided to head off home to beat the storm (which I failed miserably to do so am siting here sopping wet through damn it!) and I lent my radio to the boy who comes to visit me daily, seeing as I know his mother doesn't have a radio and the whole family will want to hear the news. He had popped out of the little mud compound house they live in as I rode by on my moto, and when I told him the news, at first he didn't believe me and was looking at me like "why on earth would the nasara tell a slly joke like this - I really don't get her sense of humour!", mainly because most of the time he really doesn't get me anyway. When I finally convinced him it was true he ran off inside to tell his mother and then I saw little people running here and about as the boys and girls were scattered by their senior brothers and sisters to spread the news to all the other little mud compound houses about the area.
Funny thing was, when I asked the boy later what his mother had said when he ran insde to tell her, he said she'd looked really disappointed and had scolded him saying "What, you mean to tell me that and not that the white lady has come to greet me?!" Even behind the President's death there's no hiding form being the only white lady in town!
So I'll sit here and dry off, with the rain still pouring down outside and splashing in on the floor all around me, catching snippets of the news from the TV blaring next door. To be honest all the trumpeting and jaunty music I can hear it sounds more like the Queens Jubilee than the death of a President. I suppose it's only in the next few weeks and months that I'll really see what this means for Ghana.
With love from a nation in the midst of change,