In most countries, people are buried within a few days of their death, but in the African country of Ghana, burials are complicated affairs that can take months or even years to prepare. In some communities, speedy burials are considered downright sacrilegious, so despite the wishes of the deceased and their immediate family, bodies spend months frozen at the morgue before finally being laid to rest.
Ghana’s lengthy funerals are closely related to the notion of family in the African country. During one’s life, their children, spouse and parents are considered immediate family, but once they are dead, their body belongs to the extended family in which they were born. In many cases this includes distant relatives that the deceased hand’t even spoken to in decades, but that makes no difference. They get a say in how, where and when the deceased is buried, and whatever instructions they left regarding this aspect, or whatever they asked their close family to do, is meaningless unless the extended family agrees to the terms.