It was my first time visiting a cemetery out of curiosity rather than compulsion. I really didn't intend to, but yes, curiosity won over and there I was.
I actually didn't start the day planning to go grave-hunting. On the contrary, it started ordinarily enough. Was working outside of Accra and visiting some schools in the Eastern Region and ended up at the Akropong Presbyterian Teacher Training College. On reaching the cooler climes of Aburi, already one could see the influence of the Presbyterian Church by way of the names of the schools - Presbyterian Senior High School, Ebeneezer Presbyterian, Presbyterian Teacher Training College - by way of some examples. All along the ridge there are beautiful old churches that seem to be guardians and sentinels of that time past.
Historically, the Basel Missionaries started the 'seeds' of Presbyterian Churches in Ghana and to link to a previous post they were also the group responsible for bringing over the Jamaican missionaries in 1843. It suddenly occurred to me that this was the perfect time to go information hunting on the topic.
After finishing the work I had set out to do at the Presbyterian Training College in Akropong, I started chatting with some of the teachers about the Jamaica-Ghana link and then so any things began to make a connection. They took me to an old cemetery on the grounds of the College, tucked away beside a beautiful old Church. They explained that many of the Missionaries that had started the Church and the Teacher Training College - including some descendants of the Jamaican families - had built the church and were in fact buried here.
I took some time out to wander among the graves, hoping to see and make some connection to my own family names, but alas, alas, time had eroded the grave stones, save one. Am sure with a bit more research and a bit more digging - for information, not literally! - I could find out if any of these were in fact descendants of those families that had returned to the then Gold Coast.
I popped into the Church, which was empty, quiet and cool. The stained glass windows providing a filter not just for the sunlight, but seemingly for everything else that seemed to be happening around me - both mentally and physically. Towards the end of each year, I always find myself reflective and this seemed to be the perfect place for that. I spent a couple minutes, reluctant to leave, but duty called and I had one more stop to make in this information hunt which was right next door at the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture. If I needed to find more information on those Jamaican families their library was the perfect place to search. More on that in my next post - promise!
An aside: so the woes and wows (no didn't make that up, rather fell in love with it and borrowed the phrase from a book I am now reading, Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong'o) of 2008 are over. I find a new year a bit like opening a new book. There is the promise of a plot - hopefully not too dramatic, new characters to discover, or ifs a sequel old ones to be reacquainted with. One of course is never quite sure where the twists and turns will lead to, but at the end of it all, one hopes that it would have been satisfying. 2008 has been a good year - few regrets, some disappointments, but yes overall satisfactory. Here's to a New Year - all the best it has to offer to you and yours!