It has been long since I told you a story. Gathering a few coins for my daily bread. In our part of the land, writing is difficultly-lucrative and budding writers like us must find another way of actuating the beautiful line in the Lord’s Prayer “and give us this day our daily bread.”
I also do not want to be tempted to say that it is difficult getting write-ups appreciated. Doing that will make me an ingrate because of the numerous interactions I have with people and they point it out to me that they really follow my works here; however humble. I therefore do not want to continue the prayer “and lead us not into temptation” because I won’t be tempted in the first place. Not forgetting the great poet Mutabaruka’s rubbishing comment against that line that “when since the Lord lead people into temptation that you should be asking Him ‘not to do it?” (Go listen to his song “The People’s Court II”).
Forgive me for digressing (after all it is not a crime). I needed that witty start to placate the anger in me. That in 2019, people could be this barbaric is disgusting and absolutely dehumanizing. This story is a funny but sad one for that matter. It is a story that manifests the crass stupidity in our setting as a people. It might pass out to be nauseating. I am filled with pitiful laughter anytime this story crosses my mind. That in the 21st century, a people could resign themselves to such depravity is barbarism to the apogee.
Let me try a recount.
If you are born in Nima as a male child, you will find yourself growing up identifying with a particular stamping ground (bases we call them). And these bases are passionate about certain things. Topmost among these are soccer, music and religion. The community realizing this organizes soccer gala competitions among these bases and the ultimate winner prides itself as the best in Nima in terms of soccer. It was a highly-spirited day for me the first time I witnessed a final with Thinking Base crowned as champions at the Kanda Cluster of Schools’ park almost two decades ago. They sang and carried the players high in an indescribable ecstatic jamboree. I have witnessed similar occurrences with different bases carrying the day. The most successful team being Los Angeles Base.
Somewhere last year, there was a soccer gala competition at the Kawo-Kudi park near 37 Military Hospital. And we were returning after witnessing a soccer match between two bases. We decided to use the uncompleted Queiroz Galvao constructed Nima drainage through Gutter Junction to Nima. As we walked happily recounting several stories and analyzing the various aspects of the football match, a polythene bag flew from one of the houses and landed straight on one of us who dressed most beautifully clad in white on that particular Friday. The bag was full with human excrements and smeared all over the body of the recipient. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
It was not a pleasant sight.
A gale of protests, insults, calumny and vituperations poured from our angle to the house in the direction the thing flung from and no one came out to respond. Not even a soul came out to reply in a community where improper greeting alone attracts a response. That alone was a confirmation of the statement from numerous passersby that it was not the first time and that it is a commonplace of the people’s natural predilection to do that.
Now, a society such as this can never prosper. We have blamed several governments for the failure to see to the completion of the drainage, we have described Members of Parliament as derelicts in their duties due to the same project, we have blamed every government official but us. Our attitude as a people is appalling. No wonder someone told us we are going to be flushing toilets for the first time as they do in East Legon.
That at this moment in our lives, we still have people who ease themselves in the Nima-Maamobi gutter, that people carry all the rubbish from their homes and dispose it off at the drainage site, that people have pipe connections from the toilet in their homes to the gutter, that we live in filth and in a completely shambolic state with an easy mind alone shows what our elders say “how we have held our mouths open for a very long time that a roasted partridge flew into it.”
The few educated ones in the community should come down to the base level and have their effect felt there. We cannot be in a community where the noisy vulgarity, the banal displays and gross indiscipline far outweighs the great efforts we putting up to shape it. We must create that atmosphere for the necessary change we want to see in our community. Until that, we will continue to wallow in the doldrums of absolute despondency.
Until we come to accept the fact that our attitudes determine success or failure of the community. Until we accept that Nima is one of the disorderly places in the world and that Nima is one of the noisy, vulgar, filthy, and unpleasant places in the world and that we must do well to change our attitudes for the better, Nima will continue to go the downward slope of absolute despondency.
NB: The Writer is a Youth-Activist, Student of Knowledge and a Book Salesman.