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09.04.2007 Feature Article

How do Ghanaians feel seeing fellow citizens suffering in poverty?

Many Ghanaians in Diaspora have good jobs, have acquired wealth and live comfortably in their adopted country. How could we related to people back home who have not had the opportunity to escape from the poverty we did? Is giving people money to our relatives enough or sharing innovative ideas with them with financial from us. Let us consider these issues very carefully.

When the suffering of people is miles away from us, and families are so distant, we fail estimate the realities of hardship. Where would one's next meal is coming from is no longer a problem. Many of us have entirely erased what is termed as “poverty” from our minds and behaving in our adopted country just like the people of that adopted country. It is no longer us but them and the problem of the given Government.

However, as we humbly celebrate Easter, I just want to appeal to Ghanaians all over the world, to start think of the communities in which they originally came from rather just focusing on their own immediate family links.

Ghanaians must re- think of the basic things we generally take for granted in the developed world. For example use of public toilets with washing basins, library facilities, community centres, adequate schools with purposeful play grounds, good drinking water, easy accessibility by disabled group, opportunities for all age groups and many more. How could we contribute and make a difference in our own individual villages, towns and cities is the question we should be asking ourselves?

Now let us reflect on the plight of people without the means to lavish themselves or even think of where the next meal is coming from. Ghanaians who have no Western Union transfer money coming into their homes? Our system have failed them and they are either dropped out, no self esteem, no confidence to go any form of interviews, no job prospects what so ever? Where do they fit in the Ghana mosaic fabric?

Feeling good in oneself whether in Diaspora or Ghana is a privilege. On the other hand, for some of us who are suffering and languishing in poverty in Ghana, the suffering they face are all too conscious when we go on holidays and see the vacant faces looking at us and wanting what we have. Ghanaians in Diaspora may need to educate their children about caring for children back home less fortunate themselves and saving to buy present homeless child in back home. This would open the door for our own children born and bred here to also thinking strategically of ways of helping Ghana. This could be in the form of perhaps schools in the developed world linking up with our schools to offer each other culture exchange links.

Is it about time Ghanaians in Diaspora and within Ghana aim to contribute towards the building of libraries, better schools, and others mentioned? For no one in his or her right mind would sleep well when one's child is screaming during the midnight. The future generation are screaming and want to be given an opportunity to shine. Let's help them.

Many Ghanaians behave like most of the people we see in our adopted country have fallen into the me, me, me factor. Is it about time Ghanaians whether through our churches, mosque, individuals and organisations start focusing on issues that would benefit a whole community? We should even be asking the churches we attend in Diaspora whether they could allocate money for projects in our home community and link up the community with them. We need to be assertive and initiative for projects to benefit vulnerable in Ghana.

Let help introduce initiatives that would benefit our communities to decide their own projects and take the credit for doing so.

We should not think of our immediate families because there is more blessing in focusing on those who no one cares about within our communities than anything else focuses.
Let reflect on what Jesus did for us? Are we his immediate family? We must be selfless, if we want our country to move from that “ label third world”, “developing country” “poor country”, “Heavily Indebted Poor Country” etc to a well development country. Experiences are repeating themselves and immediate families sometimes do not appreciate our generosity and sometimes might turn against the individual.

Let's think of the happier days most of us had whilst living in Ghana, i.e. the sense of humour, the laugh, jokes, and wicked sense of humour that we all take for granted until we have left the country.

Ghanaians, whether in Diaspora or Ghana must all endeavour to contribute at least books to our local community school libraries.

Let's make that difference for Ghana's sake.

Mercy Adede Bolus
Mercy Adede Bolus, © 2007

This author has authored 172 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: MercyAdedeBolus

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