ACCRA, GHANA- I have always been a person who loves to be around my family but over the years it has been difficult to see my father's side of the family who lives in Ghana, West Africa. I set out to visit them a few weeks ago. But I had a long trip ahead of me.
I was off from Washington D.C. on an over 5,000 mile, 12 hour journey to Accra, Ghana.
At the airport we were greeted by the children of Ghana and beautiful music from a local choir. Then it was off into the city. I was very excited that we finally made it to Ghana because I was there for a special reason.
Last year my Aunt Regina passed away after a tough battle with breast cancer. She was a brave fighter who had a heart of gold and smile that would light up a room.
" She would sing a lot. She liked shopping and she liked dressing," Grace Kotey said.
My Aunt Grace says Regina was the type of person that knew just what to say to brighten your day. "She liked everybody and she was friendly " she said. Regina leaves behind a loving son and lots of friends and a family who wanted to remember her being kind-hearted and a joy to be around. It is a tradition in some African families to come together a year after someone has passed away for a special memorial service, so I was anxious to arrive in Africa for such an occasion.
To pay tribute to my aunt our family loaded up in a bus and headed for the cemetery. We walked together to the site where my aunt is buried. There, we sang songs, said prayers, and remembered a woman who had given so much of her time to making others fell loved and appreciated.
After that it was time to celebrate. In the African tradition death is a sad time but it also a time for rejoicing that loved ones have transitioned from one life into the next. About 600 family and friends gathered for a big party to celebrate a woman who was typically the life of the party. There was dancing, music, and even an acrobatic performance to get the party going.
As you can see, most of us wore the same material but different styles of dresses. What I learned from this is that one person can reach people in many different ways and have a lasting effect on the lives they've touched.
After honoring the life of my aunt I wanted to learn more about the history Africa. Coming up on first news we will talk about how the slave trade played an important role in Ghana's history.
From West Africa, Rita Kotey First news.