So it’s all over. All the brouhaha and fanfare of Christmas has come to an end, and after the tinsels and Christmas trees are brought down and packed into storage awaiting their next outing, life must resume some normalcy. It is unbelievable that the holidays are over so quickly. After all the lovely food and drink, you may quite rightly be feeling like a stuffed turkey as you waddle along with the trimmings of extra fat that must now be burnt off. And dear reader, when the giddiness of the festivities has worn off, you are brought back to earth with a bump. If you have thrown caution to the winds and overspent during Christmas (especially if you went home), this is hangover time, and financially, this is the drought season. No wonder some people say January is the longest month, for payday is suddenly a long way off. If you live in abrokyir, now is definitely a bad time for a relative back home to ask you for a little ‘something’, especially if you have a young family, for these abrokyir children can be very demanding and picky regarding their Christmas wish list sent to Santa (i.e. you), and those toys and gadgets do cost quite a bit.
So what does 2003 hold in store for us? The crystal ball may be a bit murky, and you can never tell. Each year we all hope for global peace and personal prosperity, yet these seem to be rather slippery concepts, a bit like trying to catch a piece of meat in a pot of thick okro soup. And yet we must look ahead with optimism. As the year begins, all Ghanaians, whether at home or abroad, must be sharing some general hopes and visions. No doubt we will all be hoping and praying for good health for ourselves and families and friends, wherever they may be. Peace and stability in Ghana, and in Africa as a whole, also features on our prayer list. On the global level, surely the foremost hope of most people will be that the Iraq situation will be resolved without recourse to war. Maybe if the rules of war were changed so that conflicts between nations were settled by a sword or gun duel between their respective leaders, there would be more global peace, for leaders would think more carefully before declaring war. After all, it is said that Idi Amin Dada once proposed the option of a boxing match between himself and Julius Nyerere as a solution when the prospect of war between Uganda and Tanzania arose in the late seventies. Bush and Saddam could sort out their impasse on the forecourt of the UN headquarters, with our own beloved Kofi Annan as the umpire. After all, one is a cowboy and the other a soldier, so a gun duel would seem most appropriate. However, as you delve further, the New Year hopes of the Ghanaian back home start to differ, compared to those of his abrokyir-based counterpart. For the average man back home, there is the hope that 2003 will mellow the country’s HIPC status and make things easier, so that their pay packet will make a bit more sense. For those who have been trying to leave the country for pastures new, their prayer must be that 2003 will bring them a lucky break. And the spare parts dealer or ‘provisons’ seller will be hoping that more customers would be flooding to the shop this year. Abrokyir people seem to have rather different targets. It may be the determination to bring your sweetheart/relative over from home, buy a plot of land back home, start/resume/complete the house-building project back home, visit home this year or sort out your immigration status. It may also be that you hope to start school, change jobs, make the gym your favourite place of visit, or make sure that your savings hit a certain target without some ‘emergency’ interfering with it. Wherever you may be living, the list is endless; the goals ranging from the sensible right up to the wacky, and indeed they may be goals and resolutions that have been carried forward from the list of things to do in 2002 or even 2001. They may even end up being carried forward to the list of things next year. But dear reader, without hopes, dreams and ambitions, life would lose meaning. At the end of 2001 we all must have at least prayed for life and good health, the bedrock of all our hopes and dreams. That prayer must have been answered if you are still around, so if for nothing else, at least we must be thankful for being alive. Let us all hope that in 2003 and beyond, this basic, yet all-important prayer will keep being met so that we may continue hoping for (and working to achieve) all we desire. Afehyia Pa to all….