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Crowds Turn Out to Watch Eclipse in West Africa


Millions of people across West Africa came out to witness what many expect will be a once in a lifetime event: a total solar eclipse that made its way across the continent. In Accra, Ghana the rare event brought a normal working day to a standstill.

Most people working in Accra's normally bustling central business district dropped what they were doing just after eight Wednesday morning and headed outside.

Bank worker Emmanuel Markwei was among them.

"We'll work, but for now, even the customers are outside with us," he said. "Today, we are ready to be sacked. At least for about two hours, we are ready to be sacked."

The occasion for the citywide shutdown was an event most expect never to see again. Ghana was one of the first places on earth where the rare total solar eclipse was visible.

The eclipse, caused by the direct alignment of the moon in front of the sun, cast a silver shadow over Accra and left many residents clapping and cheering. Mr. Markwei donned a pair of special eclipse viewing goggles to protect his eyes and watched.

"It is slowly ... it is just fading way," he said. "Look at that. So beautiful, so beautiful. It is just going. Look at that. I cannot explain it. It is gone. Wow!"

After just three minutes, the sun began to shine again. And the residents of Accra headed back to work. But Emmanuel Markwei says he will never forget what he saw.

"When our kids are growing up, and they are learning, we can tell them there was a time in our lives when it happened," he said. "We were there to view it and we know what we are talking about."

The total eclipse was visible along a path from Brazil, across Africa to the Middle East, Central Asia, Western China, and Mongolia.

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