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From An Honest Reflection: An ancestral epistle

My beloved incoming generation, I greet you in the warmest language known to your heart. Though you are not yet under this sun, I consider it very necessary to pen down these thoughts borne out of an honest observation about issues bothering me and the world around me. Also I want to help you with tips to guard your heart on how to deal with them in this place you shall inevitably dwell someday.

I must admit that loneliness is killing me here and your absence is deeply felt. It saddens my spirit sometimes, that my heartfelt desire to bring you as soon as possible into the land of living is still pending. Of course, like everyone else, I will be overjoyed being surrounded by my own bedtime adventures which turned out blessed by Odomankoma into living beings.

Therefore, you should know it is not intentional to keep you waiting, but because here in Ghana, the economy is so hard that majority of the unmarried ladies think the only means to survive is to get a man to cater for their needs. Hmmm!

Behold, it is now like a plague which has befallen our entire generation. Majority of these women, in their pursuit for wealth, have resorted to this seductive act as a source of employment and income. They now dress and walk on our streets to catch the attention of clients who have the cash to splash around.

Gone are the days when our ladies led men to wars and deeply contributed to raising the kids with the last drop of blood to be useful tools in society. We now have a new breed in town who says cooking for a man is slavery. Weyi ara! (To wit: just imagine that). No wonder these ladies still walk around in their late ages from one church to the other looking for men to marry.

Without considering the basic foundation which builds a family, majority of our women will calmly tolerate all your “nonsense” and do all your bidding to grab your attention if you have the money. Up until you agree to settle down as a couple, that is when you realise many of their hidden attitudes.

This situation has made things difficult for some of my peers to choose a lifelong partner these days.

Your guess is as good as mine if you do not have the power in your hands to “whooaa” her. Woe unto you if you make a move to speak with her about matters of the heart; she will rain all her frustrations on you as if you are her grandmother in the village “doing her”. It has therefore become necessary for a prospective partner to be under scrutiny and be adequately prepared financially, mentally and spiritually before making the move to propose or think of starting a family.

So please hold on, for you shall surely touchdown in due time. I have not and cannot forget you.

There is this saying among my people which goes like this: a blow which is inevitably yours, taking it on time saves you from further torment. Either you like it or not, you will be faced with reality and so please allow me to introduce you to my world; your world. Do not feel let down by the picture I am about to paint in your mind, for no matter how ugly life has been in this part of our world, there have been others like myself who did well in bettering their situation and succeeded to a certain point.

You see, your great grandparents told me that we started as a nation with many others who were equally poor like us but because they had an “obinim sticker” doing the magic, they transformed their kingdom overnight. For lack of a better word and as an African, do allow me to say magic was the main substance which expedited their progress. We Africans believe so much in spiritual forces from the unseen world and it is true, because ‘if there is nothing outside, we would not close the door while we sleep’.

Here in Ghana we attribute everything to the supposedly witches and wizards in one’s family. Many of our people rely on man-made images, stickers and others for salvation and success. We prefer fasting and praying for days to working to achieve our very goal. This is because many of us lack knowledge and understanding of what we do [as a people].

In this part of the world, it is often said to be the richest with all the greatest resources you can think of, one has to endure intense hardship just like Jesus’ disciple called Job did. Yes, very gargantuan and never-ending in nature.

Hopefully when you arrive, you shall be living in a land which is often referred to as the gateway to the black continent, Africa. We have grown to see our very problems yet we fail to tackle them in the best ways possible. We rather subject these problems to foreign policies which fail over time.

Majority of the “big men” here made it through dubious means by depriving many of their citizens the correct amount of wages after the tedious services have been rendered. The fortunate ones are paid less and not even regarded, because there are lots of their likes dying for such slim opportunities to work with these high profile figures.

If and only if life does not end under this sun, the day of reckoning will be pretty exciting when our deeds and thoughts are opened in the face of the Almighty. E go bee one day!

Do not be surprised or be quick to criticize when you see or hear people engaged in some weird “directions” in the name of religion for financial freedom. When poverty pushes you to the extreme and if you are not strong mentally, you may be forced by your condition to do the unthinkable without realizing.

As a supposedly man of God, Ghanaians can even change your name from a Maxwell Obiri-Yeboah to an Angel Obiri-Yeboah. The self-acclaimed men of God can be tricky at a point. Be careful with their fake attitudes and smiles, for that is what they did to the people of old to generate their wealth.

It will amaze you to know that we are blessed with some of the best brains in the world, with all the big titles bestowed on them by virtue of their immense contributions outside Ghana, but they produce little or nothing at all to absolve the teeming unemployed graduates in our homeland, tackle the filth we sit in or deal with the overhauling moral decadence in our country.

Do not be surprised if you hear the government in your time is promising every Ghanaian free air to breathe, for this is the life of politicians in our land. Many of their predecessors have made huge promises and I am sure the items they promised are now finished and for you to vote them into power, they go to the extreme for you to side with them. Be careful and do not put your faith in any political party, for they are all the same: they say this while in opposition and act different when in power.

Not long ago, we had one like that who was nicknamed “King Promise”. He could create thousands of non-existing jobs overnight. Whiles in opposition, he was shouting so loud that he will protect the national purse. But when voted into power, the pressure unleashed on the national purse was just too much due to his elephant-size government.

He had one thousand staffers working under him at the seat of the presidency. Yes. Such a small nation and yet he created vacuum for so many defunct ministries because he was creating jobs for the boys who aided him into power. He duplicated so many ministries and the gender disparity within those employed at his presidential house was disheartening. When asked why such a huge number of appointees, he gave out some fallacious reasons I would not want to talk of now.

I am not sure that even King Solomon of Israel with his entire splendor had such a government na aden!?

You will be shocked at the noise you are greeted on the streets when these honorable ministers are passing by. They blow horns to scare us from the roads constructed with our taxes. The manner in which our top officials feast heavily on our taxes is appalling. They are often paid a double portion of what is due them and instead of being prudent and sending them back, they intentionally shut and take all the huge sums they are given.

The sad thing is they quickly come out to justify their deeds without remorse. They have no shame. Gluttons of the first order! These same people are quick to cast heavy stones on those who are led by life threatening situations to engage in minor offences.

I will advise you to be steadfast in your academic pursuit when you get the chance to study especially in the second cycle institution in Ghana because with my experience, it is the most difficult level in our education sector. It is that part in ones’ life where majority of our teenagers we trust to be future leaders turn into future burdens by virtue of their peers or some unnecessary extracurricular activities they indulge in with certain people.

To those of you who will be born females, do not and I repeat; do not choose any secondary school within Odobeng-Brakwa in the Central Region or Ejisu in the Ashanti Region. Some of the male teachers there may lure you to become one of their concubines with a persuasive tongue and if you mistakenly forget who you are and where you are heading (in life), you may end being gripped in their ploy and they may dine from your honey pot.

This may not end there as you grow. You may advance to the next level with this mentality where some of our beautiful daughters after being admitted into the tertiary institutions think they can lift up their skirts and have their way with good marks and escape the normal process of learning hard to achieve good results.

Little ones, I hope and pray in your time your output will be different and yield much more excellent fruits which will improve upon lives and keep our own people in our land than to find them struggle and face some awful situations in someone else’s land.

My final words to you is that, either these harsh conditions I have passed through in my time repeat themselves in your life or by virtue of hard work and divine intervention you are elevated to a certain level, guard your heart with these words: know who you belong to, know who you are, where you are from and where you are heading in life.

These thoughts will guard your heart to leave good traces in many respects.

For you are a passing shadow and your mouth will be shut at a point and only your history can speak when you finally have no power of your own in your grave. Those are the moments you must fear and work hard to avert eternal torment from your maker who has power over your breathe so you will have a “clean sheet” when your life’s chronicles lie naked in front of Him.

Be the change you wish to see in your time. I will beseech you to love the Lord your God with all your heart, be sincere and prudent in all your ways.

Finally little ones, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—work towards achieving such things. I pray these words with all my heart that the Lord, who was with me, will continually bless you.

Sincerely your ancestor, Obiri-Yeboah Maxwell.

The writer Obiri-Yeboah Maxwell is a freelance journalist but on internship at 3FM. You can get in touch with him via email: [email protected]

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