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19.09.2016 Feature Article

Sardines In Human Blood (Part1)

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“Yes,” James Adjei looked at his friend found by force, looked around him while sitting on a broken concrete stone once the corner stone of the old Block D10 at the far end of the Grounds,” we all here did something wrong to other people, more or less bad, but…I ask myself, does this give the other people the right to treat us like Outcasts with no Human Rights as we have to live under such harsh and inhuman conditions, the once we have in our Prisons here in Ghana?”

A small brown mouse stopped before Henry Asante who was sent to life in Prison for murder. She had entered the facility six month ago, looked up on him her eyes and nose directed to the small white bread he was holding in his hands. She was not aware this bread had no nutritional value like most of all the bread baked in Ghana that were sold in the streets and kiosks along the road side.

It had become a regular Afternoon ritual for both of them that he would sit at the same place at the same hour each day for the encounter of a Man which freedom was taken from him and the little, cute mouse that depended on his sharing with her of the little bread crumbles he had saved, for her to have a full stomach for some hours. Even she was able to run under the Prison Wall into Freedom and enjoy in the nearby fields harvest from various farmers, she still preferred the bread from Prison inmates. For her it was meaningless what had happened to the Prisoners and what they had done to others, she was only interested in eating to survive wherever and from whoever possible as long as the person could provide.

Henry Asante, a strong man in body shape, small eyes more Asian like than from African Parents inherited, thin lips, prominently formed nose, flat, wide, the center of his facial appearance, short hair, legs slightly curved to form the Letter O, his shoulders always hanging down looked was looking down at the mouse and said:” You my good friend, you are free forever, no matter what you do. When you make a mistake in life it means someone has ended it, while we humans have a much more complicated life. Take my word as a word from an old, experienced man, someone that had gone through so much in his life. Animals are not cruel as they have no chance to choose between bad and good, they do not know anything at all. You just act on your GOD given instincts. Be happy, my little good friend, that you are a mouse and not the President of Ghana, your life would be worse.”

James Adjei looked at his friend and laughed:” What do you mean by that…that is too funny.”

“A President of Ghana, no matter what he does, is always wrong,” replied Henry Asante seeing in the distance Officer Kwame Nkrumah-Ampong coming closer holding his stick firmly in his right hand giving him authority among unarmed men.

“You need to explain yourself!” insisted James Adjei getting ready to be addressed to by the oncoming Officer he hated so much.

“Presidents in Ghana do not listen to GOD and their people, only to their own instincts, how best to be glorified in History and to make them rich…that is all,” Henry Asante answered lowering his hands to feed the little mouse that stood on her feet eagerly wanting to grab the bread and run away.

“Party Politics is no good for Ghana. We need Leaders that have a Vision for our country to move on,” James Adjei monitored closely the mood of Officer Kwame Nkrumah-Ampong playing nervously with his stick between his fingers.

“No President of Ghana has ever challenged us to change our mind to become better and more effective people,” Henry Asante responded putting his hands into his pockets of his blue overall inhaling the dirty body smell in the textile of weeks passed without having had the chance of washing it,”…except J.J. Rwalings, only that he was not a Visionary like our first President.”

“You cannot expect to have a perfect President,” James Adjei got up to be able to face the oncoming Officer eye to eye knowing about his moody behavior.

Henry Asante did not care knowing a murderer in a Ghana prison is sentenced to death in any case, either by one day forcefully ending life by the hands of the Government, or by inmates or illnesses contracted in Prison.

“We do not need Presidents that can talk…nonsense, we need Leaders that can act to turn our Motherland Ghana around and move it into a better future long lasting and including all…even us,” did Henry Asante give his last bread crumb to his little friend that looked at him for a few seconds waiting for more but when feeling the massive footsteps of Officer Kwame Nkrumah-Ampong, she run away finding hiding behind a light reddish shining stone from one of the nearby Quarries in which some of the Inmates were working at this hour for one more hour before returning back to the Prison.

“What are you doing here?” did Officer Kwame Nkrumah-Ampong harshly say lifting up his stick ready to use it in case of any wrong response. “Are you again discussing Politics to have bad, very bad mind about Ghana and our beloved President John Dramani Mahama that allows you to live here under this conditions instead of punishing you very well.”

“Sir, we only enjoy the few hours of fresh air before we have to go back to our cells and join forty of our friends in the small room with no beds, no matrasses, fans, air-conditioning, protection from mosquitos bites and shared meals…so everything is in best order Sir…as usual, year in and year out with no improvement,” was Henry Asante not afraid to speak out his mind.

“The President has promised to improve the prison conditions, so you can look forward to a better situation in short time,” provoked the Officer the Prisoners asking them to move back to their cells.

“We have hope that after our death, the next generation of Inmates will benefit from the promises made,” commented James Adjei cynically knowing of the reality of promises made by their Presidents.

Officer Kwame Nkrumah-Ampong turned the key around of the prison cell, turned off the light, asked the Men to fall asleep and have a good night rest. He walked along the Cell Block wall into the Administration Office seeing his Colleague Fred Hanoh making a phone call to his wife. Broken chairs and benches were the only furniture in the tiny room provided for them besides a table that was nearly falling into itself to give up hope to serve any longer. Some three year old calendars were hanging at the wall once white, now covered in black sprinkles from the polluted air in Ghana caused by bad Fuel and Veteran cars; stacks of yellowish turned files laid along the walls reaching man’s shoulders. Near the window with metal bars they had a sign of the good old times, a broken down Coffee making machine that some years ago destroyed their hope to enjoy life for a few moments in the company of a hot Cup of Coffee.

Hanoh and Nkrumah-Ampong discussed the three cases of sick Inmates, two with Malaria, one with a broken Arm, only to come to the conclusion that Officer Gerald had taken them in the Morning to the nearest Hospital, for which he had to use his own private car and fuel possibly to be compensated for it at a later time or not.

Karl-Heinz Heerde
Karl-Heinz Heerde, © 2016

The author has 482 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: KarlHeinzHeerde

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