Since moving to Accra, I must admit that Sunday has become my favorite day of the week. It is not because of the women dressed in their fancy African cloths on their way to church or the way the busy town gets quiet; it is because Sunday, inevitably, is the day that simplicity reigns in Ghana. Sunday is the day when children come out in droves to play soccer at local parks and fields, and it is the day where families and friends go to the seashore to enjoy the beach. It is fortunate for me that I live not only opposite of one of the most popular beaches in Accra, Labadi, but I also live next to a field that sits at the end of a village, also known as a slum.
As a result, on Sundays I can either sit at a popular bar near my house watching the numerous soccer games taking place or I can stroll to the beach and enjoy the crisp breeze and the crashing waves with thousands of other spectators. This experience constantly reminds me of the simplicity we often miss out on in the United States. Now don’t get me wrong, I also believe Sundays are a time for leisure in the United States. It is just unfortunate that many of us chose to use our Sunday napping, running errands or preparing for the next day instead of enjoying the day to its fullest.
[quote]Here in Ghana, children make impromptu toys and use their imagination to fuel games of mischief. Families and friends enjoy drinks and Azonto (a popular dance in Ghana) when their favorite song comes on, and street performers keep the audience entertained through it all. It is truly an amazing sight. I find it even more amazing because most of these people find joy in spite of having barely the basics; something that would be almost impossible to do in the States.[/quote]
Most of the local people that live in my neighborhood don’t have their own bathrooms; instead they utilize community bathrooms. It is unfortunate for all of us that the tap runs only when it wants to, so while I pay a water tanker to fill my polytank, they instead take refuge and bathe on the seashore. In fact, I have become accustomed to seeing half naked people wrapped in towels or adorned only in shorts make their way to the seashore. There is also an issue with electricity in the area. Therefore, we are only guaranteed continuous power no more than three or four days a week, if we are lucky. And even more startling, is that many of them make less than $120.
Yet still, they find joy in their “one day” of peace. Sundays are a day where you would never think of all of the suffering that many are going through. It is a day where people find a way to bring happiness to their children and themselves. It is a day of relaxation and most importantly it is the day that reminds me of a childhood song I used to sing:
“ ‘Tis the gift to be simple,
’tis the gift to be free,
’tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.”
Cordie Aziz is a former congressional staffer who moved to Ghana after losing her job last year. Follow her daily adventures at goneiighana.blogspot.com