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03.08.2019 Feature Article

The Underground Man - Part 43

The Underground Man - Part 43
AUG 3, 2019 FEATURE ARTICLE

"As I am always preaching, life is in our mind first and foremost driven and made possible by our body...not by life as it surrounds us. Making the right decisions, not giving up on issues but pressing on even when standing alone in the desert creates a truly great character able to overcome any obstacles", said Joe while enjoying his vanilla and lemon ice-cream freshly made by a fake Italian ice-cream seller. "These people simply mimic the Italian life-style to make money even they are purely Germans...it makes me always laugh!"

"Money has no shame, no sense of right or wrong. Money is a force that when it is not in your hands can make you depressed and taking to all sorts of alcohol and drugs or it can boost your mind system to make you rich and famous by intending something that over time woks like a magnet for investors with no great vision to give you a helping hand and lift you up", declared Anna while finishing her Straciatella ice-cream that she had ordered with cherries in a big glass. Sitting in the Strandperle in Övelgönne overseeing the historic ships of the nearby marina, a tourist destination and place for young Hamburger to meet and be seen by others. It was a day unlike many the Strandperle was not filled with loud noise. Anna had invited Paul to join her and share latest news with him.

"My plan now is to work hard the coming year, than to save some money and go back to Ghana to start farming on low level. I mean I have a family, we live in a house... ."

"You mean", was Anna astonished not knowing this side of his story, "you have a house in Ghana...I mean...your own house?"

"Sure...my family, my wife and kids need to stay somewhere!"

"And then you are here...under the circumstances you live in?"

"Yes, why not? I mean we always want more in life, right?"

"Yes, but the price...and honestly... ."
Paul interrupted declaring frank:" Honesty?...What do you mean by that? We are here to make money for our life and give our families back home a better life...isn´t it like that?"

"But you exploit our society...isn´t that the case?" asked Anna leaning back ready to be surprised more and more.

"Abigail, a good friend of mine, she has a house in Dansoman, west of Accra, in which her son lives, the rest of the rooms are rented out. Here she gets social benefit as she has two sons with German citizen and born in Germany. She cannot be kicked out of Germany because of that. So, she has also a boy-friend that lives with her the authorities do not know off. He is working as a courier operator of DHL and bring home good money that he shares with her by buying a flat screen and other things to make the boys happy. Do you really thing we Ghanaians are dump?"

"I never said that, or did I?"
"Cool down, my best friend of all...cool down", was Paul ordering another ice-cream for Anna that was not refusing his offer. "When anyone things that we do not know how you Whites think and take advantage of you weakness, a mind that cannot understand our African mind and act accordingly, you are deeply and broadly mistaken. We know our way through life and history very well...very well."

"So, moral issues are not issues to you...is that what you are trying to tell me?"

"Look...my very best friend...", was Joe taking her hand to hold it close to his mouth, „for us it is no problem to go to church every Sunday, every Monday and Fridays, pray to God, listen to the Pastor whenever it pleases us and show off our latest finest dresses and make us proud of our achievements at work and in society...and...and at the same time pay tribute to witches and wizards, asking them to bring our neighbor down and empower us with blood. Oh, that is that simple...no needs for us to worry about moral aspects that both sides do not match."

"But...", was Anna confused taking her hand back, "how can anyone live such a life and assume he can move any further in life than looking over the dark side of life...I mean just to survive and stand in glory possibly for the moment, while life in fact is a marathon race for a person and its decedent...our children!"

"You have too unrealistic high expectations form life...my very best friend. For you the bible is the bible and when you sin, the bible is the bible. But let me teach you the truth, for us and most other people around this blue planet earth we are a lazy bunch of people. Look around Germany and Europe, the numbers of political parties are increasingly high like never before. Organizations expressing even more desires and wishes of people never be heard of before emerging from all sorts of corners of the earth never known from Adam...are bringing the moral standards stretched beyond recognition to burst. Everyone believes, if his interest is not voiced, heard and put into action, his human rights are violated. Today, more than ever before, we life in a world everything goes...as you please...live as you want. When we need moral justification, we dig deep down and search in our cellars of time for whatever answer we need."

"But...it cannot mean that we exploit each other...I mean that you come here to Germany having a house in Ghana, paid for complete...and we must pay for your wealth...I mean what you can earn here in your country is much...", was Anna holding against Joe that had got up to walk down to see the old ships especially the working crane put on a floating platform.

"You sound to me like this many good people over flooding our African societies to create sense in their lives and companies providing materials and services to us and make themselves rich and riche by the minute. Best friend of mine...I beg of you...and as you are not stupid, come to your senses...please, please. To be honest to you, in this world we all cheat on each other, big or small...in private or on society level. Life is not more in Garden of Eden, we are in this world out there", was he spreading his arms wide. "What you see around you is the reality of life. Look at all the people passing by. Watch their faces, discover their hearts. There is sin all around, cheating, love to be loved back, money, power, believes...and so much more. And when you look into the water and see the fish therein and look down on your body and lift your head up to the skies...what do you see...really?"

"Life!"
"Exactly...you see life. Humans...that means life. And life means development...otherwise it must be called existence. Life is different from being alive...it is reflection and progress. Many people do not reflect or not enough for which reason their progress is very, very limited. Others jump out of their own traditional educative mind into the uncertainly of reality but the possibility of seeing and visioning before their very own eyes. These eyes are only specially for them and no one can copy them in the same way like a specific person can do...that is called blessing in its purest form. Everyone can be blessed by others, but being blessed is only an individual course that we can take up and work on or just take it as a word spoken with no real meaning for the outcome of our life."

Joe noticed Anna`s attention was not with him asking her: „What do you look at?"

"What I do not understand these days people with tattoos all across their bodies with rings at any parts they carry along, nose, lips, tongue....that is simply too much and I wonder why they do that?"

Joe laughed and answered: „I do not trust anyone with a tattoo or such stupid rings attached to any body parts. We in Africa do not do that. We also do not smoke in Africa like you do here...that is not part of our tradition...rather a White Man´s illness. I mean we do not need to copy everything you white people do...only the good things that benefit our societies and move us ahead. People covered in tattoos...I have not seen any having invented anything that would make the life of others better. I see such people more like...like...like selfish people that have only an interest in themselves."

"I think most of them are very insecure. These are people that follow a trend without knowing about their future. They spend lots of time and money for that instead to dedicate time and money to grow as a person and start from humble beginning a great future that will lead to riches and fame. The young once imitate Rappers and think they are cool only to wake up one day looking own on the foolish things they were doing while young. But there are also other young people with sense and will of their own, with great personality...not many through, yet thy do exist and must be promoted by society to take advantage of their talents that can improve our society," lectured Anna entering an old sailing boat invited by the small crew. They all looked over the Dock 10 of Blohm & Voss with a giant car transporter for repair. "And these jeans...so many broken as if they have no money to buy proper once...not good at all."

"When you speak your mind in public today as you do with me here, these people will shout on you as intolerant and that you should mind your own business as your standards set in life are not their standards and everyone should have a right for his own freedom. Also, they would tell you, your life style is old fashioned, outdated...that freedom is all that matters...freedom to very own taste", laughed Joe leaving the ship again to walk towards the bus that would take them back to Altona Station. In the shadow of the impressive Augustinum, home for old people, behind them he added: "I was at Caritas in St. Georg last Thursday and bought some nice, nice used shoes and clothes for my wife to sell. The price here is really, really good for that quality and she can make good money with it!"

"But place of the Caritas is not for vendors but for handouts to poor people as other people had donated it to the Caritas. So, how can you go there, pay very small money and make good profit back in Ghana?"

"Oh, you and your moral standards...oh, oh", laughed Joe even louder seeing the bus approaching. "At Feldstraße and Trabrennbahn in Schenefeld there are markets for used things. So, I go there around two in the afternoons mostly on Saturday, wait until business is over and vendors leave things behind as a gift for anyone to take. That moment I pick the best of items and leave the rest to the late comers. I can tell you, that way my wife in Kumasi is making good money and can feed our children very well. Transportation cost are small, so this way business makes sense."

"So, you are cheating your way through life...isn´t it?" asked Anna while finding her favorite seat in the back of the bus overlooking the whole scenery, the best place to watch people very well.

"It is not about cheating in life and on people...it is about to make it in life!" corrected Joe his best German friend.

At Altona Station they took bus line 150 not having to wait for long. The bus took off from the bus rank outside the Station with trains running all over Europe, especially to the North and North-West of Germany. The bus was half full when they set off. A handful of people seemed to be refugees from Syria and Africa. They were chatting along. She knew just behind Airbus Industries a hugh refugee camp for migrants alongside factories for steel and ship building were hastily set up and still in use. Between the airplane production and runway and these factories endless stretches of apple and cherry trees were planted making the area the largest fruit growing place in all of Germany. During spring time when apple and cherry trees were blossom in white and pink, thousands of visitors would overflow the little, old villages among the orchards inherited by generations after generations.

Anna looked out of the window hearing the voices of the passengers in the back. She looked up. Altona Hospital was majestically reaching into the skies, a single building well known for great work and a maternity ward in which Paul´s ex-son once was born. The bus driver directed his bus into the Elbtunnel crossing the River Elbe from underneath. Drivers with less experiences in tunnels had the tendency to slow down so blocking the road for free flow of traffic. Nearly three kilometers under the River, so heavy above, yet safe for cars to pass. She counted one tunnel light after the other. Her mind dived into the yellow light again and again.

"I am always by your side...wherever you are!" was Anna hearing a clear voice. She looked around. Joe was in a discussion with a black man. No passenger was close to her. "Do never worry or doubt...I am with you in all your moments of time!" Anna rubbed her eyes, put her fingers into the ears to clean them from whatever might confuse her. "In me you have rest. I was, I am, I will be...as I am!" Anna opened and closed her eyes, opened and closed it again and again. Meanwhile they had reached the other side of the tunnel branching right to pass steel works into Finkenwerder. Cars and buses tried carefully to pass each other in the narrow old streets with signs at the tiny old houses along the road asking to reduce heavy traffic in the city.

Karl-Heinz Heerde
Karl-Heinz Heerde, © 2019

This author has authored 330 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KarlHeinzHeerde

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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