Inspiration Thursday (#2)

inspirationMamadu Awuni is from Northern Ghana. His village is not even known by his paramount chief neither does his town chief knows about the colour of his unfenced house. Yet their community has only 50 residents! They live in one of the most remote places in Ghana where Kwame Nkrumah never stepped yet declared Ghana independent.

It is usual for the men in that part of the country not to help their women in the kitchen because it is seen more of an abomination than a taboo. Women from that part of Ghana also build the houses their families sleep in with their own hands. The main duty of the man was just to go to war, yes war.

One day, as Mamadu heard the screams of his wife as she brought out their seventh child into the world he was yet to discover, he started to ponder on the challenges in their lives. He realised how mediocre he has been made to believe the place of a man in the home. He asked himself, how can I watch my wife do all of these things while I sit and wonder with my other male friends in the name ‘being a man’? His thought made him sleepless that night as he stared at the thatch roof of the hut they lived in with his hard back separated from the earth by a thin mat. He told himself to make a difference in their community the next morning.

As the moon was being pushed away by the sun and the wretched-looking cocks began to crow, he made his way out of the room and made their compound clean. For the first time in his entire life, he walked into the kitchen to prepare a meal for his recuperating wife who was still in bed due to the push she made the night before. His wife became very furious because she didn’t expect her husband to commit such an abomination, moreover in the morning when the gods are awake. But after listening to the explanation of the husband, she realised that indeed they could do more if they worked together. Sooner than later, they began ploughing their land together and cooking together. They soon realised how they were able to achieve more by putting their effort together.

Few weeks after this their new-found way of love, many men in the community made mockery of Mamadu but he didn’t give up. He held his head high and his wife closer. He later began to educate his friends on the need for people to work together for their community to develop as the nice places they see on the only television in the town at the chief’s palace. In fact, many agreed their lives have improved but pride was killing them. Reluctantly, the men in the village began to help their women one at a time and those who did realised how productive they became.

As the rains came, their village with the least population attracted lots of traders as a result of a bumper harvest. Many of the nearby villages wondered how this was possible and they got to know someone dared to do things differently in the right way. Mamadu had a very good reputation as a result and he started to move to other towns and villages to educate them on the need to work together.

A year and half on, Mamadu is now expecting their eighth child and his wife sits happily under the only tree in the scorching sun on their compound as she watches her husband return from the farm with the other children.

Mamadu has also contacted an NGO to start a school in their village to help educate the children. These and many other things is what has made the chief of his town always come to his house on Saturdays to spend the day with him and also see how they can move their development forward. The paramount chief now grants him personal invitation to their durbar and he honours it with pride.

Today, I sit with Mamadu enjoying some kola nut on a hill which overlooks his village as he shares with me his touching story. So as I chew on this kola nut he offered me, I realised indeed it takes one individual to change the world and just one moment to begin change. Let us learn to be proactive in the building of our beloved nation. Indeed, together we can.

My name is Kotey, good morning.

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GHANA, DOES IT PAY TO SERVE OR WE MUST PAY TO SERVE?

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The tale of parents selling jewellery and other valuable items just to see their children through school is as real as life itself. Many families must withdraw their other wards from school immediately one gains entry into the secondary or tertiary level due to financial constraint. Yet these challenges have by no means repelled the rise in the cost of education in Ghana.

Freshmen in KNUST for the 2015/2016 academic year had to pay almost GHC2000 as regular students and I wonder how much those to be admitted the coming year would pay. One may wonder why I being a final year student in the same university who, God willing, will be graduating this June should be bothered. But a look at South Africa in 2015 will give us a totally different view.

Students in South African universities led the famous #FEESMUSTFALL and succeeded in making sure that fees were not increased the following year amidst increase in utility and inflation rate. They presented a united student front that sought to protest against rise in fees in South African universities. This could not have been achieved without proper coordination in their leadership. Back in Ghana, we have seen a gradual increase in the cost of university education and the politics surrounding the introduction of utility tariffs in addition to fees paid. Must we remind NUGS and PUSAG that the struggle will continue but victory will be certain?

Now, to the meat of the matter: In many countries serving your nation is an honour and one can volunteer in many aspects of service to the nation. In some places, it is somewhat dignifying to have served your nation in your lifetime. Others may even want to die while serving their nation as a result of the honour it gives them.

But in Ghana, after completing university and struggling to raise money to see you through, you are first asked to pay GHC40 in order to be posted for national service! Yes, you read it right! One must be ready to pay GHC40 if he or she wants perform his civic duty as a Ghanaian and lend mother Ghana a helping hand in solving the many challenges that confront her. In other words, it is ‘compulsory’ for you to do your national service and also for you to pay before you do it even if it is directing traffic.

I by no means say serving Ghana is not an honour neither am I saying people have not laid down their lives in the cause of making Ghana a great country. How else would we have become independent? When the cost of service to the nation is paid by the citizen using legal tender, it is seen as a business which only offers a certificate after enrolment rather than an honour.

The importance of national service must in no way be overlooked as it strengthens cultural and ethnic ties hence leads to national integration and unity. It in effect leads to nation building. National service grants the individual practical exposure to on the on-the-job training and how to live and work with people from different aspects of society.

I believe everyone must contribute in building Ghana, but to pay to offer service to the nation strips national service of its value and essence. I push for the payment to be scrapped entirely. After all, I know not for what use it is put!

My name is Kotey and I believe in Ghana. Rise we can, but when?

Things She Did for Love [Eps. 1]

picShe laid in the bath tub naked but covered with foam so his eyes could not even envision the supposed curves that outdoored her beauty when she wore her tight clothing. He posed neither as murderer nor an intruder even though he watched her with her eyes closed, but as a gentleman fantasising over love.

Akosua Dugan was a product of coitus that never happened. Her mom had accepted sperms from a donor without consummation and later became pregnant. Akosua was birthed not in a hospital but on hill, a hill that housed their mansion and gave it prestige. She never knew her father. Or so did her mother made her come to believe.

As Akosua grew up the rumours of her dad not existing became truer to her than her own face in the mirror. She couldn’t help as many fingers pointed at her. “Was it really my fault, I came out as a fatherless child?” she told herself time and again. No matter how hard she tried her imagination still made her inferior. At night, her tears flowed down her cheeks onto her pillow like how a river flows from a mountain top to the valley. She was really hurt. Interestingly, it gave her strength.

Truth be told, her beauty granted gazes that gingered gestures, even awakening the giants, in gents like gluttons gutted by hunger. Her walkings could tame the wildest lion into becoming like a holy mouse sitting in front of a church congregation. Her look was fears than the gaze of a cat and it could captivate a preacher who didn’t pray before preaching.

After she completed her high school education she continued her education to the best university in the land where she met him. He was a gentleman, a gentleman who laboured from childhood on a farm where hunger was his slave master and sweat, his best companion. His crush stares at him with those captivating eyes and she looks on as his jaws drop open to make way for his saliva and that was when it all began.

To be continued….

 

 

Inspiration Thursday (#1)

When Ama left the village for the city to start a new life, she didn’t know what the future had installed for her. Her life in the village was consistent with going to the stream to fetch water at dawn and later that morning having a trip to the large farm where her family cultivated all sorts of crops. The constant trips continually waded her down as she wondered when all these would stop. She dreamt dreams of becoming a very important lady in the country who was married to a handsome guy and living in the city. But at age 23 and still carrying fire wood from broken
branches, that dream seems to be fading.

inspirerSooner had she given up on her dreams than her distant aunt, who traded in one of the big markets in the city arrived at the village. She noticed that Ama had become very beautiful and pleasing to the eye. She immediately understood why it was rumoured that many of the men feared to approach her. The continuous exposure of her skin to the sun on the farm has made her black skin conspicuous. Her white teeth honoured her smile with the caption that snow lives on a dark forest.

Consequently, Ama’s aunt decided to take her to the city to begin life anew. Ama’s hard work paid off as many people called on her for assistance in almost every trade she learnt. Indeed, all those times trekking to the farm and helping her parents each morning had turned her into a very hard working lady.

She decided to take up some adult literacy classes to help her understand and communicate in the Queen’s language. She tried arithmetic too. Soon she was helping her aunt keep proper accounts and documentation of the trade she undertakes. Many of the market women then started to employ her to enable them keep proper records of the businesses. Just after 2 years of staying in the city, Ama has now become the first choice of many market women who look for someone to trust and leave their goods behind for.

Ama quickly realised that her reputation is enough to begin a business of susu collection. She passed through the appropriate channels to get her organisation registered and paid her tax to help the government generate revenue for development. Her reputation made it easier for her as more and more people found it comfortable saving with her.

A year on, her name had spread to other markets in the region and she quickly took hold of that opportunity as well. Her little susu collection has outgrown her capacity so she began to employ trustworthy employees to help her business. The business later grew to become a micro finance where she started to give out loans to people who needed money for goods. Her interest rates were not high to deter people from coming to her. Now many people who are not market women even come to her for loans.

All the while, she never forgot her parents in the village. She visited them as and when the opportunity came and sent them money when it was available. She also started to donate to the school in the village so as to help provide proper education to the children.

Now at age 33, Ama is married to an Engineer who works with one of the leading engineering firms in the country. They met when Ama was going through her daily business. Their child is six months old and he can smile although he does not yet have teeth.

The point is, with hard work, trust, honesty and zeal, a man can become successful. Great things never come to the people who are lazy and only wish for them. Great things come to the people who see the opportunity and pounce on it. You can do it if you act towards it.

My name is Kotey. Good morning.