Every Sunday, my cleaner will say “God Bless you”. Once in a while the security guy at the main gate will do the same. Sometimes random people will also say the same, this is because they have received some extra money thanks to me. Had I not parted with the 2, 5 or 10 cedis, they keep their blessings to themselves.
The saying goes its better to give than receive, but these same people are normally the ones on the receiving end.
With my cleaner, to be honest, he really does a good job around the house so if I give him something on top of his basic wage or some provisions like milk or rice, I do it from my heart. I also like him because he doesn’t expect it. One time, I was really hard up and my garden was overgrown aÑd he came in and cleared it up without even taking a penny. So when I give him something and he says God bless you, I really believe he means what he says.
With the security guy, I have to say he surprised me one day, over the election period he complained to me that the company had not paid him for 2 months. I gave him a fiver as I felt bad, I also gave him a fiver over the christmas. He did though bring me plaintain and cassava from his hometown which I thought was sweet, although he didn’t refuse the 2 cedis I gave him to use as transport to go home that evening.
As I said, those people, I do what I can when I can, I am not rich by any standard, but at least I have a roof over my head and can meet mortgage payments every month so I cannot complain. But what gets me is that people just expect it. Over this christmas period the security guard at my cousins estate has asked for his “bronya d3e” (christmas present). The lady who brings me tea at work did the same. The security guard at work even had the gall to come to my office to ask if I had anything for him. Never mind that I had to fork out for a new tyre as my back tyre had ripped. I had already used my spare having burst my tyre on a crack in the road driving down the Tema motorway.
Never mind that it was after christmas and I had spent money on food. Never mind that I need to service my car. No the fact is I have a fish and they want to eat for the day.
It always makes me laugh the way people perceive others. These people look at me, the fact that I am from British so I have a bottomless pit (so why if that was the case I am not living in my mansion drinking tea and doing charity work is beyond me). I have a car, I sit in an air conditioned office. I obviously have money to spare. If I have I would but let’s think about this. If 10 people come to me in a day, I give each of them between 5 and 10 cedis each (this would be the expectation) that leaves me 50 – 100 ghana cedis down and for what a “God bless you”. A lot of blessings but blessings don’t fuel my car, petrol does, and that is paid for with my money.
Funny thing is, all I had was the 50p for the toll booth so they were out of luck. But your just expected to have a bucket full of cash in your bag.
I have been working in one capacity or another since the age of 14. Yes I lived a comfortable life, I never had to beg for food or clothes and could even afford a McDonalds once in a while. But this money got me through school, college and university and helped me to buy the car you see me in now. Yes I had a better chance in life than some, but I also know people who were in worse situations than me but have made it and they did this without getting a penny from anyone.
Not all will ask you outright for money, but if they do something from you it comes at a price. The day my tyre burst, a random guy and the area boys all rushed over and changed the tyre for me. When they finished I gave them a fiver. Nobody said “no, don’t worry”, they took it and said thank you. I am pretty certain had I not offered they would have asked anyway, but hey at least it was a service I was paying for.
You have to have a pretty tough skin, and be a bit selfish here in Ghana if not you may end up giving out all your money to every random with a sob story. It is better to give than to receive, but not for the “God bless you”, blessings come from the most high. So it will have to be at your discretion.