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Grooving to the beat

According to Google, and the 2012 population census records, 75% of the population is Christian. Before the trip, I learned that Ghanaians are very religious. The people are strong believers, religious stickers and posters will be everywhere. It is common to see some people preaching on the road or on the trotro about their faith. Your co-workers will ask you about what you believe and you most likely will be invited to church. These facts kind of surprised me because I thought freedom of religion wasn’t common in third world countries.

I was also excited when I learned how Christianity is the main religion. After the busy start of traveling around Ghana, in week four a Sunday was open to attend a church.  Finding a Christian church to attend was not a challenge at all. I first searched google maps and found churches close by. Once my peer and I found a church close to the university, we asked to see if anyone else was interested in going to church. The three of us woke up at a decent time on Sunday, 9am and made it to church by 10. I was looking forward to seeing how church was in a foreign country. I have heard that churches here are fun, full of dancing and a full choir sings.  When we arrived at church I wasn’t sure what to expect, but my first impression of the church was wow this church seems really universal. The similarities made me feel at home. There was a stage, a lot of people, a person standing at the door passing out pamphlets and children running around. The sermon length was universal as well. The difference between Legon Interdenominational Church (LIC) and my church at home was there was more praying, singing and dancing. There was so much dancing I loved it. One other thing I loved about this church was that during offering everyone was happily singing and dancing. Before we did the sermon and after we did some worship, it is common to do greeting. Greeting is done at my church at home as well. When greeting took place at LIC everyone walked about and shook people’s hands. This was a fun time full of smiles. When people settled back in their seats, the new people were asked to stand up and introduce themselves. In front of a bunch of strangers, probably 600 or more people, each one of us stood up and said our names, where we are from and how long we will be in Ghana. As the last one to introduce myself I didn’t feel nervous at all, “Hey everyone my name is Helen. We are from the University of Oregon…” Halfway through my introduction I look over to my peers and notice that they are giggling because I had held the microphone too close, causing my voice to echo through the walls of the church as I am a naturally a loud speaker.

As the service came to an end, the first timers were asked to meet up in a room after the service. When we all gathered in the room, we sat around a table and were served sodas and cookies. A church member sat at the front of the table asking us what we liked and didn’t like about the church service. During this experience, we were taught the traditional way of being welcomed in a Ghanaian house. Attending church in Ghana was a new experience that I will never forget.