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09.09.2009 Feature Article

Tales from my grandmother [Part 3]

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“Oh, no one is looking. I can quickly dump this here and leave quietly. After all, there is no dust bin provided. To hell with any prying eyes floating in to chance upon me” (oh, trust the sophisticated Ghanaian to find excuses for any wrong actions, even the very palpable ones.)

How many times have you found yourself contemplating on doing one thing or the other, when no one is looking? Often times, you go ahead with an action even if your conscience stares hard at you and tells you loudly “no, don't do this, it is not good!”

Then after a few meters away from your victory over your little angel (conscience), you went very wild upon seeing someone else dumping a bag of refuse on an already over-flowing bin. This is utterly disgusting and unacceptable! How on earth could you be doing this, awwww, as for some people! …. on and on you went, ranting about what the poor chap was doing … you were only lucky (perhaps unlucky) to have chanced upon him. He was only in a battle with his little angel (oh, this certainly, he would call the devil, because he wasn't as lucky as you to have been …. He was caught! Yes, you caught him red-handed!)

Your lines of condemnation are unending. On you went with a 1000 statements why it is so wrong and incredible for people to be doing a thing such as the glory sight before you! Even if you decided not to bless the victim with your words of contempt, any one around you would get the message with the look in your eyes – a theatrical gesture that would have looked very on stage!

Recently, I found myself in this condemnation business and suddenly, I remembered something my grandma used to tell me. I would ask:

Grandma, why is this man so wicked?
Why is Davi Edem so loud when she talks to her children?

Why can't the chief let the people clean the village?

Why is the path to our farm so weedy?
Why this, why that? … on and on I went until my grandma would say;

“Efua, ne etsor asi deka ameade fiam aa, susueo kataa tror wokporm” (Don't worry, you would be obtaining a degree in Anlo proficiency, by the time we are done with these tales …just enjoy the expressions)

All my grandma meant was, “Efua, if you point a finger at a person, the remaining four fingers point back at you.”

You ask, why the chief and elders would not ask people to clean the town …. Have you bothered distilling the little gutter before our compound?

You ask, why is this man so wicked? …. How often have you refused to lend your writing slate to your cousin to write on?

You ask, why is the path to our farm so weedy? …. Have you ever attempted to clear off even a small portion?

Remember, “asi susuewo kataa, tror wokporm”.
I did not quite understand what grandma meant in those days. As I grew older and wiser (yes, I believe I'm wiser now), I began to see the wisdom grandma was trying to make me see.

Grandma also explained to me that with our individual daily habits, we form our character which in turn represents our bigger society. She told me that my character is often times not what I want people to believe I am, but what I do when no one is looking.

How true this is! I find that it is very easy pointing fingers at people, condemning others in public even about the things that I so much enjoy doing in my holy sanctuary, where no one (to the best of my knowledge) is looking!

I have learned to be true to myself. So can you. Together, let's build our nation with true commitment to doing the right things and condemning the bad ones … not with a holier than thou attitude.

Thank you grandma, for another interesting and relevant tale.

Credit: Brooke Nuwati
Email: [email protected]

Brooke Nuwati
Brooke Nuwati, © 2009

The author has 6 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: BrookeNuwati

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