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18.06.2012 Public Messages


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My name is Bernard Buachi and I come from Ghana, West Africa.

I am the first born of a family of four- two boys and two girls.

The beginning of this piece could be subtitled the Agony of the first born because as a first born to a very humble young couple, I remember a lot of the heavy handedness that I had to brave while growing up. Besides my lovely mum says it in pass that; “of all my children, you suffered the most.”

Some of the things I refer to as suffering I know are funny but hey, life is relative. For instance I had to wash drinking cups, clean the leaving room and fetch water for use at home every morning.

I had to ask permission to turn on the television, to visit my best friend, to ride my own bicycle –permission for almost every other thing.

The most memorable part of my growing up were the licking I got for breaching any of the rules imposed on me. I always had “my cane” which I was asked to produce anytime I got in a fight, ate from a friend's home, took money from a stranger or even my parents' friends, switched on the TV in my parents' absence etc.

My young athletic parents both gave me memorable corporal punishments in different doses. My mum used to cane me frequently for every little mistake. But we were always good (well, did I have a choice?). My dad, Mr. Andrews Buachi, was a different story. He seldom caned me but when he did, it stayed with me and it still does though we are friends now.

He was like a terrorist to my life then. One look into his eyes made you rethink your actions instantly. I remember how quiet the house got when daddy came back from work. I remember how he hated my wounds which I acquired so frequently from playing soccer, riding bicycles or other aggressive games. He hated them so much he warned me saying “don't you know you are a royal. You are not supposed to have those ugly scars on your legs. The next time you get hurt again, you will see!”

The worst mistake I remember making was to ask daddy to help me with my math assignment. The man expected his son to know everything, I guess. Obviously, he hated any weakness in me and math was one of those. I wonder how he taught his students back then. He would ask me something he considered “simple arithmetic” and I would stand there staring up at the ceiling, trying hard to conjure up the answer (a thing he hated), which never came anyway.

But whenever he decided to give me a treat, it was equally memorable. Those moments are moments I cherished. When my report card arrived and I had performed excellently especially in math, he would buy me a soft drink or promise a family trip. Such trips were so nice and unforgettable.

I remember the motorbike rides and the fireworks daddy brought home for Christmas, the live trees we would harvest together and the disco lights.

I am just a bit disconcerted that parents who used to be so strict and in charge, now call me from miles away complaining about the behavior of my siblings and asking me to talk to them. How time changes. What happened to good old trouncing?

Anyway, I guess times have changed.
In the spirit of this fathers' day celebration, I just want to say that all the love and heavy –handedness has nonetheless made me a better person and I love you mum and dad.

Happy fathers' day dad.
-Bernard Buachi,
020 8 55 79 65

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