A trend that has been in the system for a while and has people talking, but little efforts taken to limit or avoid it is the “funfair” during funerals.
One will think civilization did us good, but some Ghanaians fail to understand that they cannot think for the dead . Indeed I believe if the dead could speak, they would plead that they be buried decently yet at the lowest cost possible.
The country constantly suffers low productivity rate, because well-abled people spend time, energy and resources travelling far in the name of funerals and even lose their lives in accidents.
To lose a loved one is sad, but to spend extravagantly all in the name of burying him or her well is much more. The misplaced priorities without thinking what happens to the surviving family of the deceased.
There are many who have starved, not been able to continue their education, have difficult life situations and sought to many illegal or unhealthy lifestyles because they lost the only breadwinner or benefactor in the family. It is disheartening to see that much is spent on the dead than living.
Past Director-General of the Ghana Health Service , Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa once said we should pay more attention to the healthy living and give priority to our health instead of spending all our resources on expensive funerals . It is even known that some churches have banned wake-keeping, serving of alcohol and buying of new cloths to cut down cost.
I haven’t been to many funerals but two I attended were so simple. After the burial service held at church where bottled water was served, a bus conveyed interested persons to the cemetery and after everyone left for their homes. I wasn’t at all surprised since these two families were of white background. The other two I helped serve at since I was close to the families had me doing series of math in my head. Everything served at one was imported from America. from water, to drinks to souvenirs to cutlery. expensive tents, tables and chairs hired. Waiters , DJs , cultural troops were hired. there was different stands at the funeral grounds, from kebab to beer to local food to continental food to local beverages to a reserved place for important guest. I mean there are abled people in the family who can serve, cook and even control the music.
There are some costs one cannot avoid which is embalmment , keeping body in the mortuary , buying of caskets and the volt, tilling and sealing of the ground but unnecessary things like paying extra so that pallbearers dance with the body and a lot can be avoided.
It’s time for us to set our priorities right and appropriate heads should help solve this issue because until it is so, complete development for the nation and our personal lives will be impossible. Before you agree to such expenses ask yourself, is it really worth it?
Daniela Esi Obboh
Ghana institute of journalism