“Like a hangover, neither triumphs nor disasters last forever. They both pass and a new day arrives” – Helen Mirren. This Christmas, I took my kids to town and bought them some toy cars, guns and dolls.
They were happy. When my kids are happy, I am happy too. My kids don’t walk to school. I drop them and pick them up after school. My kids’ school is gated, well-furnished and secure. Their school mates and teachers are beautiful.
I like them. Sometimes, I buy my kids kalipo drinks, yoghurts, biscuits and (or) toffees after school. They look nice, I cherish their experience. I love them.
This narrative is contrary to my personal experience growing up as a child in Jagouk. Jagouk is a
little village in Bunkpurugu.
My entire childhood experience in Jagouk was like punishment. I hated it. If I were not in school, I was in the farm. I hated farming not because I was lazy, but because of the environment. Bushy, weedy, Dirty, animal excreta all over, and whenever it rained, it was worse, I hated it.
As young boy, I worked as if I was forty year old single parent. I remember I was bold enough one
day to asked my father how much food I ate in the house that I had to work that much. When I
started school, I never absented myself even a day.
The school became a safe haven for me. Even on weekends I wanted to go to school just so I could avoid the farm. There were times I wanted to become a dog, because I saw the dog relaxed and asleep under the tree when I weeded and was so tired and went to take some water under the tree.
There were other times I wanted to become a bird, because I saw birds happily flying in the skies whiles I weeded and was so tired in the farm. These is my childhood memories. We worked in the farm till evening and when we are going home we carried firewood on our heads.
There was nothing like you are tired as a child. There were neither vehicles nor tricycles. Nothing.
This was between 1990 – 2000. Any time a car visited the village, we rushed out to the road side
to give it a wave of bye bye. I walked a kilometer or two to fetch water from the community water
well so I could bath for school and this was normal for every child of my age in Jagouk within this
period. I lost the hair at the center of my head because of carrying water and firewood.
I have fought this life and still fighting it. I have started new years with empty hands and ended it
good as if that was okay. I borrow money from people and struggle to pay back. I have chalked
successes and have suffered embarrassment. When I returned home to Jagouk from Adegyemim Santase in Duayaw Nkwanta where I went for “paaoopaa” in 2002, my father looked at me and
assured me it will be over.
He told me proverbially that; “nuro kidi fara bina piik” literally translated, “a man does not suffer for ten years” I did not understand, but now I do. It simply means; like a hangover, neither triumphs nor disasters last forever. They both pass and a new day arrives. We need the courage to continue.
A Pakistani-American actor and writer by name Jumail Nanjiani once said that; “you can go slow,
allow your dreams and goals to change over time, but live an intentional life”. Look at me from Jagouk. Look at my experience, and that is just a gist by the way. My peers from the village see me as hero. If you look at me carefully, you see bruises and scars of life struggle, I keep the fight on.
My kids ask me about the scars on my face, I tell them they are tribal marks and they don’t get
it. Tribal marks for what? What is that for? They ask!
My education delayed, my marriage delayed, my struggle for quality life keeps evading me, yet i
survive it. I master the courage to continue. The Bible says; “For the vision is yet for an appointed
time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it, because, it will surely
come to pass” Habakkuk 2:3
Prophets, economic think tanks, global financial institutions and newspaper analysts all say 2024
will be a difficult year. The government’s tax laden 2024 budget is sufficient announcement of the
hard times ahead of us. I hear GPRTU is threatening 60% increment in transport fares from January
2024 because of the taxes. More hardship is steering at us but I assure you, it is temporary. Like a
hangover, it will pass. May we master the courage to continue in 2024.
I have tasted the wrath of life and have tasted some joy of life too. I know some of you share in
my experience. When I watched TV for the first time in 1999 in SSS one, I wept
I saw beautiful people on TV whiles everybody in my village looked poor and dirty with tattered clothes. I did not understand why? I thought my village people were under a curse. My friends were surprise that everybody was happily enjoying the “kwasasayo tv show” whiles I was weeping bitterly.
As freshers in form one, we didn’t know each other much. They didn’t know what my problem was. I lacked answers to many life questions in those formative stages of my life. There were times that after vacation, I did not want to return to the village. I was completely robbed of the joy of missing my home and my village as a child.
As I got more matured and educated and read around, I understood that my experiences were
synonymous to typical first and second generation African children. At the center of this pain and
despondency is hope. I remain hopeful. From Jagouk and from Bunkpurugu I believe in the prospects of my new dreams and so you should. What we ask for in 2024 is LIFE! If you are reading this article, you are a proud graduate of 2023! You are a champion! You have life, and that is sufficient. Many lost it in 2023.
May God Grant us the courage to continue in 2024!
Happy New Year!!
Author: Peter Suaka
Lecturer, part-time, UEW CODeL
LLM, KNUST Faculty of Law, On-going