When I came to Ghana, I only knew a few family members. They were all fairly well off so honestly, they looked after me. They housed me, fed me, provided me with a constantly flow of electricity and water. ECG could turn off the light for 2 days in a row and I wouldn’t have mumbled the way I do now. I could afford to go to London for a couple of weeks break, I could afford to buy a £400 phone (what was I thinking). I could treat myself to a hundred Ghana Cedi pair of shoes or a bottle of Hennessy and I would still have a fair bit of cash left over. Life was good.
4 years on, most of my capital is locked in property and fuelling my car, that’s fine, I still have a roof over my head, but I count every penny. I don’t go to see my people in London, the dollar is on the rise and the less fortunate relatives also know that I’m here for a while and the small bit of entertainment money I have they are there to grab it with both hands. I wouldn’t mind if it was even relatives, house-helps, security men, extended, extended family. Everyone thinks that you have, and they have not, so they should have yours.
When the phone rings and somebody calls me Sister or Auntie, my first thought is “oh God”.
On Friday night, I stopped for some water, it was a packed afternoon/evening with our end of year corporate function. I had been running around like a mad woman organizing a team which I wasn’t the captain of (we came last after everything, gutted). I was absolutely shattered and not fit for driving but managed to get myself half way home when I thought to myself, no I have to stop and take a rest stop otherwise I will fall asleep behind the wheel. I was sitting a table away from the security man who works for my aunt. The good thing which is also the bad thing about me is I am just nice to everyone. I don’t distinguish between the blue collar from the white collar. We are all God’s children so I don’t have the right to disrespect anybody. Some people especially in Ghana tend to take this to be your weakness and take advantage, and they take advantage right in your wallet.
I can understand why my auntie’s and elderly people tend to make the line very bold and clear so that their staff and juniors not cross over but I have never been that way. “Sister” the man said. He then went on to tell me that his mother was being buried next week and re-calculate all the expenses he has on his shoulders. I wanted to say “was it me that killed her”, but that would have been a bit harsh. I had twenty ghana cedis in my pocket and just about enough fuel to get me home. But I gave him 10. Not 5 minutes after I gave him the money and he said he had to go home before his landlord arrived, but God should bless me.
Day 2, I get a phonecall. A distant cousin’s son. “Auntie”. He too, had something to ask. He has got a football scholarship in Italy and he wanted some documents to say that I would be funding his travel and fees. Had he taken my statement they would have bounced his visa as I don’t even have enough money right now to buy his travel bag let alone his ticket. He had asked me for the statement but must have found someone else seeing as I was taking so long. He called me to inform me. But just one thing. He needs the visa registration fee. 180 ghs. I’m not being funny, if I had, I would help him out, but he has parents, my cousin took his sister to London where she is paying for her schooling and is staying rent free with a part time job. I didn’t bring the money tree which I planted in London back with me to Ghana. I buy sachet water at times instead of bottled water to save on cost. All these things they don’t see. As far as they are concerned, I have, they have not, I should give.
If you give God will bless you and if you don’t give, you are a tight fisted something who will die a miserable death.
I will give him a contribution towards the cost but the whole cost, he has to understand that it’s a lot of money and if it was that easy to get he would have got it.
I do hope he gets the money and he gets to go, then he will see that it is not roses and honey where he’s going. I’m pretty certain if he makes it big as an international footballer he will forget me, but hey, I am blessed.