Childhood Memories; The Mango Raids

It was a very hot afternoon and the kids were feeling restless. They were on vacation and they were so much bored with staying in the house. School was to reopen in two weeks. They wanted the days to move quickly so that they can go back to school and have more fun. Staying in the house was boring for them. Their parents were also at their work places and they always left early in the morning and came back late in the evening. Before they left they made sure that their breakfast and lunch have been prepared. The lunch was always in the fridge, the children had to rely on Kofi who was the eldest to heat the food for them in the afternoon. The long vacation always coincided with the harvesting of mangoes. Thus, the mango season was here and the children decided to organize a series of raids into people’s farms for mangoes. They therefore sent three of the boys around to survey the area and map out all the mango trees.

It was now left with how to execute these plans. They first had to tackle the mango trees in the Ghana Water Company yard. They picked four gallons and entered the yard under the pretext of going to fetch water. Kwame hid behind the wall with a sack whiles Kwadwo, Kwabena and Kofi entered the yard with the gallons. Kofi climbed the mango tree and started plucking the ripe mangoes. He then threw them to Kwame who was a very good catcher and it went into the sack. In about ten minutes the sack was half full. Two of the gallons filled with water were then taken out of the yard by the two boys leaving Kofi on the tree. Kwadwo and Kwabena went back into the yard and Kofi then climbed down from the tree. Kwame was gone with the sack of mangoes by the time the boys were finally leaving the yard. This raid was successful as it was carefully planned and executed with so much dexterity and precision. The boys could not hide their joy when they got home and started enjoying the mangoes. They could imagine the look on the faces of the security man and some of the workers during their lunch break. They will be amazed as to how the ripe mangoes vanished from the tree. Thus the boys have found an activity to while away the remaining days of this boring vacation. Whose mango tree was next? Agya Owusu’s farm was next.

There were rumors in the neighborhood of Agya Owusu’s extreme wickedness. Thus he meted instant justice to anyone who was caught stealing from his farm. There were three big mango trees on his farm and no one dare climb any of the trees to pluck the mangoes. The boys decided to raid his farm and they were ready to face the consequences. As usual, they sent two of the boys to do some reconnaissance of the farm. They came back with the information that the man was not on the farm. Another boy was posted at the entrance of the man’s house and he was to run towards the farm and shout the moment he saw the man heading towards his farm. The sacks were secured and the boys entered the farm, climbed the trees. One person was left to stand under the tree to fill the sack. The raid was going on well until the sentry posted at Agya Owusu’s house failed to notice that there was a backdoor to the house. The man decided to pass through the backdoor on his way to the farm only for him to get there and see some children harvesting his mangoes. He shouted and the one with the sack picked up the sack and bolted like lightening. The other two on the tree decided to pluck the hard unripe mangoes and pelted Agya Owusu with them. Since he could not defend himself from the mango attack, he also ran back to the house with his face swollen. The boys then got down from the tree and also ran back to their house. When the boys got home, they started laughing and at that same moment the sentry showed up breathing heavily.  He had to run for his dear life when he saw Agya Owusu running towards his house. Meanwhile another person’s mango tree was being targeted. They decided to be extra vigilant this time around and also take every precautionary measure to protect and defend themselves during the raids. They also mapped out several escape routes and always had a plan B in case their plan failed. Thus these are some of the childhood memories. I hope a lot of people can relate. In fact, the mangoes raided from people’s farms were more enjoyable than those sold at the market.

Cry Mother Ghana, Our Beloved Country

It was a sad day for Ghana on Tuesday, 31st January, 2017 when reports came in that a school building has collapsed at Breman Gyambra killing six kindergatten children. The school is the Breman Gyambra Methodist KG School. This community is in the Asikuma Odoben-Brakwa District of the Central Region. According to reports, four of the children died on the spot and the other two died later at the Breman Asikumah Our Lady of Grace Government Hospital. Several children were also injured in this tragedy. According to eyewitnesses, there were visible cracks on the building before it collapsed. I just don’t understand why these children should die as a result of someone not doing his job. What were the authorities doing to fix this dilapidated structure. I heard the P.T.A. had levied the children so as to use the money to fix the building, but this tragedy could have been avoided if pragmatic steps had been taken the moment the cracks were seen on the building.
That same day in the evening, a terrible rainstorm ripped off the roof of Ghana’s Parliament causing the roof to leak. Instantly, the next day it became a major news item with several people in higher authority including the Vice President visited Parliament to assess the damage caused to the building. It was promptly being fixed that very day. But no politician visited the Breman Gyambra community to console the bereaved families. What sort of country do we live in? In the run up to the 2016 general elections, politicians from all the parties were going to every nook and cranny soliciting for the votes of the people. They could be found at every funeral, every naming ceremony, in fact they made sure that they were present at every social function so that the false impression of they caring about the welfare of the people will be seen. But now that the election season is over, our politicians forget to care for the same people who voted for them. Who cry’s for these six children who have lost their lives through no fault of theirs? The media also decided to give little attention to this tragedy and as usual nothing will be heard about it again. Also some armchair journalists will just sit in Accra and make up stories about the tragedy. Now they are all focusing their attention on Parliament and what happened during the rainstorm. Such a biased media landscape we have in this country. Or is it because this tragedy did not happen in Accra so no attention is being given to it? If it were to be a western country, the school authorities would be forced to resign due to their negligence and irresponsible nature. Its time we put an end to that attitude where we identify problems but wait for them to get out of hand before we try to fix them. It seems we have failed the children of Ghana, we should bow our heads in shame for the death of these innocent children. We could have gotten future Medical Doctors, Teachers, Lawyers, Lecturers, Scientists, Fashion Designers, Engineers etc etc out of these children.
Once again, Mother Ghana is grieving the loss of her six children and sadness has gripped the people of Breman Gyambra. My heartfelt condolences goes out to all the affected families. May God grant these children a resting place in His bosom. I can just imagine what these families are going through right now. Imagine taking your child to school only to be informed in the afternoon that your child is dead. God save Mother Ghana, God save and protect all children.

My Experience At The Cape Coast National Health Insurance Scheme Office

Image  I woke up very early on the 15th of May, 2014, and made up my mind to go to the Cape Coast branch of the National Health Insurance office.  I had heard a lot of stories about the huge crowd that gathers there every day  just to register for their biometric cards. This will enable them to access health care in case they fell sick and had to go to the hospital or any NHIS accredited health facility. I got there thinking that i will just waltz my way through the process and leave as soon as possible.

I got there around 6:30 am and i was shocked to the marrow to see a huge crowd gathered there in a disorganized manner. I was made to know that the workers were not yet in until 8am. A woman i talked to told me she came to the NHIS office as early as 5am all because she wanted to quickly finish with the registration and go back home so as to go to work. No official came out to inform us of what to do, where to go and even give us some education on the registration process.

The officials came to work at exactly 8am and a list was immediately pasted on the glass door for those who came the previous day to check if they would be served. Unfortunately i was in the wrong queue and had to move to another place just to write my name and be given another date to come for my renewal. Why should our grandfathers, grandmothers, pregnant mothers and children come to the NHIS Office very early and spend the whole day just to register for the NHIS.?That is if you are fortunate to be served and not told to go and come back another day. This is just something brief, but i have some questions to ask the National Health Insurance Authority.

Why cant they create an online platform for people to register online and later go to the NHIS offices to pick up their cards?

In this day and age of modern technological inventions, why dont the outfit make use of the telcos to introduce a short code that will enable people to register using their mobile phones?

Why should schools send their students to the NHIS office for the registration exercise? Cant the authority set up mobile units and move from school to school just to register the students? Why cant there be NHIS offices in the various hospitals in the Central Region? The long and short of it is that, there should be an expansion program by the NHIS to cater for areas with large population. Otherwise this laudable program might metamorphose into what i will term as  “National Death Assurance” and not National Health Insurance. These are just my observations from the Cape Coast Office of the National Health Insurance Scheme.

The Joys of Childhood

Image   Imagine a world where children are not allowed to  play and show case their God given talents. Such a world would be a very boring and sad place. Children learn through play and thats how they are made to enjoy childhood. Children must be made to feel happy and make very good use of that stage that they are in because once they progress from the childhood stage to adolescence and onward to the teenage stage, all signs of childish behaviours are done away with. Maturity sets in and they sometimes behave like adults and are even included in the decision making process in their various homes.

But we all agree that not all children in Ghana and many parts of the world enjoy their childhood, thus they are deprived of the joys of childhood in their various homes. Many of these children are always indoors and prevented by their parents from going out to play with their friends, attending programs and events organized for children and also their movements are restricted. Such children grow up very timid and are sometimes unable to surmount simple problems or situations that come their way.

Children must be allowed to play with their friends, be very courageous and must also be taught how to behave in public and at social gatherings. Thus, when they grow up they also would have nostalgic memories of their childhood days and have something to laugh about and share their experiences with their friends.

The picture above depicts how happy these two children are as they play with their bicycle which i would call a METALCYCLE because it has no tyres but just metal wheels and the look on their faces says it all. Make children happy and they would always come closer to you as they enjoy their moments. They learn a lot through play both in the home and at school.

The Forgotten Children

Image  This post is about an experience i had with a child one evening as i was coming back from a stroll in my  area. There was this small child almost about four years old standing by the road side dirty and with a sad face. Apparently, he had been standing there for a long time and begging passers by for money to buy food. I realized that no one was even paying attention to him as he stood there with no footwear and a tattered shirt and shorts.

As i got closer to him, the child approached me and asked for money to buy food. At that very instance, i felt a sharp pain in my heart as if i had been pierced with a spear. I dipped my hands in my pocket and was just praying to God that i should have some money for this child. God being so good, i was able to give him something, but my sadness increased as i left the child who also left the spot to go and buy some food with what i have given him. This happened in a community on a university campus in Ghana ( name of university not mentioned ). What is the university doing to help the communities around it? That’s a whole issue on its own which would be dealt with  in another post.

Questions started to flood my mind. Who are the parents of this child? Why is he at this particular place at this time of the day? Why should he go hungry? Why have this kid and many others been forgotten? I f i had not passed by that place, does it mean that this child would have gone to bed hungry? Why do some people bring children into the world and refuse to take care of them and provide for their needs? Is it the child’s fault to be in this world? These children go through a lot of hardships and they are always wondering where the next meal would come from.

No child should go hungry in our modern world, but what do we see on our streets and in our various communities? Homeless children always roaming the streets, doing dangerous and hazardous jobs just trying to make some money and take care of themselves. It seems society has forgotten the plight of these children who have no one to help them. What can we do for these unfortunate ones who sometimes do not have a place to call home. They are always at the mercy of the weather and prone to all forms of diseases, harassment and abuses. Do we have to sit down and watch all these happen to our unfortunate little brothers and sisters? Let us do our best in our own small ways to put a smile on the face of every homeless and starving child. God bless you all, God bless my homeland Ghana.

 

Let Us Protect The Children

Image Once again the deaths of two children who went to play in their father’s parked car was reported by the various Ghanaian media houses. These children died through suffocation when they got trapped in the car whiles their father was having a family meeting in the house. This tragic incident happened on the 11th January, 2014 at a suburb of Accra known as Asofa. 

Anytime i hear such news involving children, my heart bleeds. There are so many safety measures that should be done to protect our children from harm, but it seems parents and guardians have failed woefully in this aspect of parenting. Why place a bottle of kerosene or dangerous chemical at a place in the house where the child can easily mistake it for water or any drinkable liquid? Some parents leave knives, blades and other sharp implements in the open where children easily get access to them and eventually hurt themselves. Some children are also left alone to go to school on their own without the supervision of their parents or guardians. The unexpected happens when they try crossing the road and it brings a lot of grief and sorrow to the family.  Why would a parent be driving and his child be standing in the car? I see that everyday and the police also fail to point it out to them. Poisonous substances should not be left in the open for children to get access to. I think, there is no education on child safety in Ghana. All the past governments have failed in this aspect. It is high time a policy framework specifically modeled on child safety be advocated for.

Laws should be enacted to protect our children from harm or death caused by the negligence of their parents or guardians.  We should try our very best as a country to protect the children, since they are the future leaders. May the souls of all children who have died due to the negligence of their parents or guardians rest in the bosom of God Almighty. These are just the thoughts of a concerned citizen who is so passionate about children. Your comments are welcome. God bless all children and their responsible parents and guardians.

 

Child Safety In Ghana

Image Children are precious and special gifts from the Almighty Father and it seems we on this earth and in our dear country Ghana have neglected the responsibilities naturally entrusted to us. I move around and i realize that most children in Ghana are seriously at risk of getting injured or perishing from certain simple safety  loopholes that have been left unattended to. I see most people who drive with their children sitting in the front passenger seats of their cars without wearing seat belts or sitting at the back with no baby seat to secure themselves in the event of a collision with another vehicle. Unfortunately our law enforcement agencies also look on whiles these basic safety measures are flouted with impunity. You also find some drivers with their children on their laps whiles driving. This is a very bad practice and must be stopped. It puts the child’s life at risk. In some households several bottles of dangerous liquids are left at places where children mistake them for water and they ingest them and most of these children if help is not given to them immediately would die and some are left to battle with life threatening complications for the rest of their lives. Examples of such liquids are bottles of kerosene, liquid detergents and other types of industrial chemicals. If you care about the safety of children you will put all these chemicals at secured places in the house. Children also like playing a lot and when they enter the kitchen and find knives or other sharp implements lying around, they tend to pick them up and in the process cut themselves.  Our numerous construction sites dotted all over the country also have open pits with stagnant water and quiet recently our media have been awash with children drowning in these open pits.  The safety issues concerning our children are numerous and if i want to continue writing i would not finish. I hope to hear from you through your comments and suggestions on this particular post. Lets all do our best to ensure the safety of every child we see or we come into contact with. Lets all remember that we were all children at a stage in our lives. Just reflect on this post and think about how you were able to get to this stage as an adult. Would you have gotten this far if someone had not ensured your safety when you were a child. God bless us all.