Harold, The Cockerel and Marriage

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May 14th 2011
Published: May 14th 2011
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Hey all,

I believe I left off last time saying that we were going to kill the chicken, the goat, my host sister was getting married and I actually have work to do! Thus, I start this entry by saying that all of these things have now happened successfully.

I didn't see the chicken being killed, but I did see the fact that the eat more or less every part of the chicken (even the head) and the taste of revenge is sweet. It was a very tasty bit of chicken, and Helen's sister cooked (she is an amazing cook!) it with a really nice spicy tomato-y sauce and Fufu. I have to say, the only slight disappointment is how they eat the meat. Because they eat the whole thing they do just hack the chicken up so you don't really get the nice tender fillets and things you get at home, but oh well!

The goat I did see killed, which was really interesting to watch but I think it's fair to say I wouldn't need to see it again. Another interesting thing with the preparation of the goat is that they don't skin it, they just burn off the fur and eat the skin. Again, like with the chicken, they eat literally everything (again, including the head). The slight disappointment with the goat is that because they don't wash it, there is the lingering smell and taste of charred skin and smelly goat, however, Helen's sister cooked us the stomach and intestines (as we all said we hadn't had them before) and I somehow drew the longest straw by being given a piece of rib on another occasion!

The wedding is very very different to a UK wedding. Firstly, it takes place in the home of the Bride, but the ceremony itself is very different as the family themselves are far more involved. It starts with the entire Broom's (yes, Broom) family coming in all singing and dancing bringing a large array of gifts. The 2 appointed spokespeople (an aunt from each family) then speak a lot in Twi (unfortunately I have no idea what they were saying, although there seemed to be a lot of 'ALLELUJAH EH' followed by a chorus of 'Amen' from around the room). The Broom's family then go around and shake everyone in the host family's hands, then there is some more talking and a passage from the priest, before the host family go around the room shaking all of the Broom's family's hands. There is then a bit more talking before the family members all stand up and introduce themselves, Broom's family first. However, because there were so many in the 'host' contingent there was a designated speaker and not everyone was introduced. The Broom's family spokesperson then presented all of the gifts individually, explaining each of them, to the host spokesperson. It is only after this that the Bride and Broom enter (through different doors). They are then married (rather quickly), and the Bride goes around offering each member of the Broom's family a traditional drink, before offering the same to her new Husband. That is more or less the end of the ceremony and then there is a big party. Today, there is the 'second leg' of the wedding, which is a large dinner here in Accra (the Broom comes from Accra) and then the newly-weds go off to their new home in Koforidua. All quite an experience, and I am intrigued to see whether or not there is any cake today! I hope so, but at the same time I highly doubt it.

Final point is on work. On Tuesday we went to the maternity clinic in Achiase and spoke to the pregnant ladies (and nurses) about HIV/AIDS and Malaria. About 10-15 turned up in total and none of them knew anything about HIV, or even their HIV status! I think the biggest shock really was the fact that the nurses themselves didn't know much and were asking the main bulk of the questions. Because the pregnant ladies come once a month, we will go in every Tuesday for the next month, and then see from there what the situation is looking like (maybe leave it a month and then do the same thing again). We didn't end up setting up the stall in Achiase on Wednesday as we still don't have permission, so we climbed a 'mountain' (hill) instead. We are hoping to start schools soon and to give a presentation in the nearby prison at the end of the month. I will keep you informed.

In other news, Brett leaves tomorrow but on Thursday got diagnosed with Worms and Malaria, I guess that shows you are never safe even when you think you are home and dry! Tom turned up yesterday, but we left for Accra early in the morning so we will meet him when we get home tomorrow.

Finally, to add to the list of uses of machetes:
An axe
To pick up litter
Killing and gutting animals

Speak to you soon,
Sam(uel) x


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