A Dissapointed NSS Personnel; If I Could Re-Do My National Service I World Opt For A Remote Village, And Here's Why

If I could re-do my National Service, I will move heaven and earth to be posted to any remote village in Ghana. In 2008, when I had the chance to serve rural Ghana, I chose otherwise and mocked those who were forced to go. 10 years on, that one year I missed, has cost me everything I stand for today...

Yes, when you grow up, you realise that your worth is not in the things you amass, but the people you’ve touched with your life; and by missing that one year to serve Ghana in her most uncharted and uncivilised areas, we all missed the chance to make a real difference in simple ways.

Unfortunately, we had to chase immediate financial safety, by forcing through moves to prestigious firms who had no real need for us, and still hope that we will be retained after service. Of course, we were wary of that looming independence from our parents and their dependence on us, moving on. So it had to be the money. And sadly for most of us, when we don’t have money, the motivation for anything good or bad is money.

(Trust me, you change from this mindset when you grow up and see how easy you can make money by adding value to people’s lives- a topic for another day)

Sometimes even when it wasn’t money, we still decided against rural Ghana. For excuses as lame as proximity to home, fear of the wild and somewhat genuine excuses such as no electricity, no toilet or good drinking water. All the while, forgetting that our presence those deprived communities could have shun a light and brought a change to their social limitations. After all, we had the education and we spoke the language of the politicians.

But as if there is no reason why it’s called National “Service”, most of us sought to take take from our motherland instead of give back. We went for the cash.

But while we chased the cash and luxury, we missed the real gold. We missed the opportunity to speak for the vulnerable; to be the mouthpiece of a deprived community and to be the voice of reason for many young folks out there who had no role models.

Even if by just one person, we could have curbed diarrhoea, tuberculosis, AIDS & STDS. We could have reduced child abuse, infant mortality and teenage pregnancy. We could have inspired confidence in the girl child, respect for the elderly and a peaceful communal leaving. But...

But... we missed the opportunity. I for one wasted a whole year doing nothing at the Ministry of Women and Children’s affairs. We were just camped in the conference room in the morning, made to run some “waakye” errands at lunch and gone by 3pm; nothing given nothing learnt. Oh how I dread these wasted hours of my life. Admittedly, looking back, there were many holes in that ministry that I could have filled with a tad of service mindedness.

I know there are many young people who will not understand this or agree with me because life is breathing urgent demands down their neck. They need the cash too... especially now that they want to marry and have a family. Hence the need to go for financial safety instead of real service. That’s fair enough.

But one day, most of you young ones, if not all of you, will come to a place where it takes more efforts and time to make a difference. A difference you may never see because you are not intelligent enough, white enough, literate enough, celebrated or decorated enough. That day, you will remember this day, when a certain KwaAgyei encouraged you to take the opportunity and serve rural Ghana.

If you are lucky enough to heed to this call, you will still remember this day one day, but with a smile and a deep appreciation for spending a year of your life serving rural Ghana.

A disappointed National Service Personnel
Kwadjo Agyei.



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