Lydia, the Ghanaian woman who sat next to me on the plane, to Ghana, asked me to help her fill in her landing card, as she could not find her glasses. While I was filling it out for her she told me that she had just been in South Africa to attend a week of prayer at the ENC/ECC church (cannot remember the exact acronym) in Pretoria.
And that she has owned a store outside Accra, for the last 20 years, called “The Lord Our Strength Psalm 128 The Bible Our Guide’.
Church is big in Ghana.
When I woke up this morning, around 6:00, it was to the sound of the same “hoogs” (as my grandmother would say) passionate preacher’s voice, coming from somewhere beyond the hotel’s walls, as yesterday. I recognise his voice by now. I showered and got ready for work, and he was still going. At 8:00 I went downstairs for breakfast, and he was still going. At 9:00, when Richard came to pick me up to take me to the office, he was still going. He had not taken a break once! Or, from what I could tell, paused to check his notes, or taken a sip of water!
Yesterday I thought this was a one-off, and that maybe I was mistaken and it was Sunday. But it is definitely Thursday today.
Having grown up in a minister’s house myself, religion is something I am very familiar with. But this was taking it to a whole new level of zeal.
On the drive to work, I asked Richard about this. And he said that church is really important in Ghana and that preachers often travel from neighbourhood to neighbourhood to do.. well, Pop-Up Church Stands.
The standing joke in my family now is that if Ghana does not convert me, nothing will!
PS I have since moved from the hotel to my apartment in East Legon. And guess what? There is a church, called ‘Valley Praise Chapel: A 5 days Supernatural Encounter: The Valley Of The Dry Bones’ 50 meters down the road from my window.
PPS I met a store-keeper today called Happy. Reverend Happy, to be precise. Reverend Happy also happens to be the minister at the ‘Valley Praise Chapel: A 5 days Supernatural Encounter: The Valley Of The Dry Bones’!
PPPS King Appiah, my Uber driver, explained to me how to start a church in Ghana. (Watch this space for a step-by-step guide.)