Saturday, August 29, 2009

Reception for Kpakpo at the Catholic church in Nima

After the graveside ceremony for my father in law at Osu Military Cemetery, we all returned to Nima, one of the inner-city shantytowns in Accra, for the reception. Our family friend Sela helped to keep our daughter Leyla entertained throughout the long day.

Many times in telling stories of the four-day Homegoing for Kpakpo, I have called it a "marriage" rather than a "funeral" and I think the reception had something to do with that. The reception was held at the Catholic church at Nima Roundabout, and it was a festive occasion - like wedding receptions I have attended, but unlike anything I have ever experienced connected with a funeral. I was enjoying the bottles of wine on every table.

Nahvee was sitting near us in the part of the celebration reserved for what my wife described jokingly as "middle management".

This image of a beautiful family friend should have gone with my initial family, friends and faces post, but here it is now anyway. She also sat near us in the "middle management" section.

My wife, Karley M. King (to the right), tends to inspire fierce loyalties in her friends. I, too, have been blessed with friends, but I have seen people from Togo do things for my wife that go beyond the bounds of any commitment I have ever seen expressed by friends anywhere. Delli and Medard traveled from Lome to Accra for the celebration - an uncomfortable and difficult drive of some hours - and then turned right around and drove back.

Medard is a former longterm boyfriend of Karley's and is incredibly loving and loyal to her, but Delli happens to be more photogenic and was wearing an especially beautiful dress.

Karley's sister Addoley and her sisters enjoyed the reception from a larger area of the churchgrounds closer to the music.

Closer to the music, yet farther from the food, with slightly reduced "services," if we are thinking in those terms. When you are servicing thousands, not hundreds, of people at a reception, I suppose it makes sense to diversify the arrangements in terms of sheer logistics.

As it so often happens, the people in the larger common area were having more fun than the "middle management. Of course, it helped to be closer to the music. I'll get into the music separately, in the next post - it was amazing, as was the food.

Only toward the end of the party did we go upstairs to the more elite section of the reception, which I referred to as "The Chief's Room". I was being facetious, until we did see an actual chief ascend the steps to the room, shielded by an umbrella carried by an assistant. This room was furthest from the music but stocked with what seemed to be endless food and drinks. I suppose I ended up here looking for the last place where someone would serve me a Guiness.

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