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Father Ryan Reports from West Africa (V): “Newsworthiness”


Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society Patrick J. Ryan, S.J. is spending a month in Africa, a continent where he previously lived for 26 years. During his time there, he will be blogging about his experiences. Here is his latest post:

I went by air from Lagos in Nigeria to Accra in Ghana on the night of Dec. 28. The plane, only one-third full, left two and a half hours late but the flight only took 35 minutes. In its flight path we flew over two other countries, the republics of Benin and Togo. The map is rather crowded in this part of coastal West Africa.

I was expecting heightened security at the Lagos airport, but found it efficient but relaxed. My baggage was not opened. At Accra, however, a large plane coming from Amsterdam arrived at the same time and some of its passengers had their luggage inspected on arrival.

Many people greeted me as “Pastor”–my black clerical shirt and collar are still regarded as more Protestant than Catholic here in West Africa.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon visiting old friends, including a 95-year-old man, Dominic Attigah, and his wife Anna, 88 (“Pa Dominic” and “Maame Anna”), whom I have known since 1974. He is fairly deaf now and she is blind.

They were finally married “in Church” (actually, the priest celebrated the wedding for them at home) last August. Togolese by origin, the Attigahs came to Ghana in 1951. Pa Dominic remembers it was the year that Kwame Nkrumah was transformed from independence agitator to leader of government business in the colonial regime.

At night I met and had supper with George Atta-Boateng (FCLS ’07, GSAS ‘09), who is now a key figure in the computerization of the Ministry of Education.


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