A loss in the Office

Here are some pictures from a recent funeral. One of my colleagues in the Talensi-Nabdam District office, a Veterinary Technical Officer named Ben Sabill, died suddenly about a week ago. He leaves his wife and six children. I have mixed feelings about writing about this experience.

Beyond my sorrow for the loss of a talented, kind and hardworking colleague, the death of an income earning head of household is a tragedy in Ghana that goes beyond my understanding. MoFA paid for a great deal of the funeral expenses, and so the richness of the ceremony in the photos is deceptive and un-enduring.

I have trouble accepting the generosity of Ghanaians at times. For example, I will book myself a hostel room instead of inconveniencing a coworker by asking them to host me if we are working late. If they knew I was planning on staying in a hostel they would insist on  extending their home to me, even though it will create inconveniences for the family. When discussing this with my colleague Mr. Salifu,  the regional extension officer, he said that the reason I don’t find it easy is that I have never really been vulnerable. So I don’t understand.
At this funeral I felt that he could not be more correct in that statement.family in front row

Church service, family in front row

Women hitching a ride to the burial site

Crowd around burial site (circle of people at top left)

One of Ben’s daughters

Priest preparing at burial

My colleagues from the District Office.



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3 responses to “A loss in the Office

  1. Hi Dear Sarah,

    I suppose Sarah is your name. Pardon me if that is not your name.

    Yes, I was home when Mr. Ben passed away and I am very grateful to you for bringing Tongo, though far away, so close to me. God bless you. Your pictures are splendid and they tell me all about the manner in which this great son of Tongo was buried.

    In fact, I wish to have been part of his funeral mourners but my Head of Department will not permit me. Secondly, I had to return to campus on time to begin analysing data I had gathered from the district on my thesis project. I am grateful to you for your soft but wonderful contribution to our deceased brother. He was really a man of action.

    i equally want to thank you greatly for the good complements you gave about my people. Yes, no single human being or group of people are ever perfect: but should thrive on our weaknesses to the disadvantage of our efforts to progress in life? The reply is certainly NO. This is the more reason why we should always have a positive mind towards others and what they do or say despite their weaknesses. Once again, thank you, Sarah.

    I am a teahing assistant in the University of Education, Winneba off road to Cape coast from Accra but I hail from Tongo and I am proud of that. though I know not when I shall be home; I wish to see you when home.

    Wishing you the best in your work with my people. my firm believe is that one can always make the best out of where one lives or hails from. All the best in all your life endeavours and plans.

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