Sunday morning

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Church roof of a church in Accra, Ghana

It’s one of those quiet, calm Sunday mornings. Just that this time around, everything seems more quiet with the absence of the buzzing sound of my fan. I sit by the window, the one where the most air is blown in, reading an inspiring essay by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Sundays without electricity can be nice, especially with the cold breeze of air that is left of the heavy rains of the previous night. Every now and then, I put down my book, sip on some Milo and listen to the sounds outside. The church in our neighborhood started early in the morning and it is still a mixture of happy music and a pastor shouting prayers into the microphone. I guess the church is making use of a generator.

While I look out of the window to my left, trying to make out what the pastor is saying, I hear some clanking noise coming from the window to my right, which is facing the pathway to the street. I turn around and look outside the window to find this old skinny man, sitting deep in the trash by the street. Despite having a garbage pit in the neighborhood, many neighbors rather keep the little money the deposit there would cost and throw their trash in front of the house where it is burned every other day. And here sits this old, fragile man, in the remains of what was once the garbage of the households. I also see where the clanking sound is coming from as I see him throwing old cans and other metal products towards his big, once white bag. I watch him while still listening to the church choir in the background. Where does this man come from and where is he going? What is he doing out there on this peaceful Sunday morning? At one point, he gets up and walks over to his bag. He brings out a big wooden stick with which he is now pounding on the cans and metal pieces. The metal sounds fit perfectly to the rhythm of the church music. And so it goes for a few minutes.

After a while, the man puts all his metal findings in his bag, ties the bag, puts it over his shoulder and starts wandering down the street. Was he satisfied with what he found? I couldn’t make out what the wrinkles in his face were telling before he turned his back towards our house. As I watch him maunder away, I hear how the gospel of the choir comes to an end and the pastor regains possession over the microphone.

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