Cowries in a Calabash

5 September 2021

Complain about the past and the present but also seek to do your bit to construct the future.

Our parents and those before them grew up in harder times, under rulers not their own, under situations not their own creation but they dared to dream and to change the narrative for those who were to follow after them, us.

They fought. They fought to claim and build their nation again, with their sweat, their hands and their all.

Work in progress, it is. And they did their bit and handed over. To us.

I fear we have become a generation of complainers who know all about who and what to blame and much less about what we have to sweat for and build.

And politics has made us lose our sense of communal labour. Of seeing the village as one unit and joining hands. You help weed my farm, I help weed yours. Ndɔ boa. That is our social welfare system, that is our tradition way of building together. Modern political administration has made us lazy. Where we look to the capital for everything, including building a latrine for our own village.

I sat in a book reading session once, listening to the venerable Kwaku Sakyi-Addo. He told a story of visiting a village once for a meeting between the village folk and some visiting NGOs. The meeting was held in a massive edifice, the local church. The main issues discussed were about facilities and development that the village wanted. One key request struck him: they wanted a community toilet. Later, he asked them how they built the church. They replied that they built it from their own resources and their communal labour. Why not use the same strategy to build the community toilet, he wondered.

I dare say religion has made us lazy too. We expect manna, not from our own farms, but from heaven. That is why a person would spend all day, on weekdays, praying for a job, in a church which is a converted factory or warehouse.

We are the ones to till this land and to bequeath a better land and country to those after us.

Woe betide us if our children turn out to be worse complainers than we are now.

My serving today, from the cowries in my calabash.

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