Friday, July 25, 2008

Brother's Keeper

I officially name myself the Street Shrink. It might sound a bit weird to most of you. But take a good look at all that goes on in the streets. You can't tell me that it isn't a window into ourselves as a people. As opaque a window as it might be, a window still.
Read on.

I agree, we have our issues as Ghanaians. We have problems with our indiscipline, our greed, and most of the time our sentence construction and grammar. Granted. It's certainly difficult to overlook all the warts, but let's not throw out the baby with the bath water. We have to take a deeper look into our humanity. Let's dive a little deeper into the real Ghanaian. The changes in governments and economy and the demand for a better richer life is eating into our lives just as it is for that of many other countries all across the world. The moral fabric of society has become a cloth with which we try to wipe away our vices. Still and all, there's a lot to be grateful for. Again this Street Shrink was in traffic, just minutes ago at the traffic signal from the Aviation Social Center into Cantonments (those of you familiar with Accra will know exactly what I'm talking about), we have these physically challenged guys who are immobile leg down. They beg along the roadside, like most beggars do.

As we stop waiting for the light to hit green so I can speed off home, thinking back on how my week has gone, etc etc etc. Ever notice these guys who as a substitute for feet have wheels and wear flip flops on their hands weave through the cars as deftly as one could imagine. Well, one of them wheels up to me and asks for money. Now, I try as much as possible to be polite. Yes they are a bit worrisome, still.
Anyways, I'm in the passenger seat, sitting The Thinker style (also known as the Thinking Man) . I'm usually very pensive in traffic. My mind was chewing on some thought so hard that it's as though my next intake of oxygen was dependent on that. This guy crawls up to my door, looks up and says 'Madam, won kye me kakra?' (Madam, won't you give me something little?). Tearing away from my thoughts, I turn to look at him and say 'Ene de enye, next time wae?' (Today, things aren't so good).

Honestly, I'm not sure what expression I was wearing on my face, but the guys turns away for 2 seconds and turns back to look at me saying, 'E-go be eh?' (It'll be well) Come again, I didn't quite catch that. And he repeats himself with a more affectionate tone "E-go be eh?". What else do I have to say than to nod my head in agreement and thank him for his goodwill message. As we move on in traffic, I almost feel sad for myself. Not that there's anything wrong with him telling me that. It's just the idea that in as much as I think of myself in a better position than him or he thinking that I'm his last chance for a meal that evening, he felt he was in a position to give me encouragement. Think about the courage and nobility it takes for someone in his position like that to tell me that. He might never drive a Bentley or a Lexus. Heck, he'll never drive at all. I doubt I might even remember how he looks to give him a little something next time I'm round that way.

But if what he said doesn't sound a noble bell in you, I'm not sure what else will. This gesture as minute and seemingly fickle as it may sound made me realize that there's still a little human left in us. Let's forget about politics for a second, let's each forget about the deal you couldn't seal for a minute, let's put off hate, greed and envy for a day or two and let's open our eyes to see the beauty that lies beneath it all. Fundamentally, all we wanna do is to survive. To have some meat to take home to our families. Why must we chain each other to the wall in order to do that? Why can't we just be our brother's keeper, not seeing the other any lesser than they are? Why? Why ever not?

1 comment:

big mak said...

u write so beautifully. i followed your candid reviews in the jive.

i look fwd to your 1st publish book.