Dear Nii Kpakpo,
I have noticed a certain phenomenon that has been bothering me since I came into the savanna a year ago. At first I though it was just a run of the mill thing until a friend of mine (http://www.nanayaw1.wordpress.com) opened my eyes to what the situation really is.
Everywhere I walked in town I noticed that the women begging had a particular feature – most of them had twin or triplet children. Twins mostly.
I had always wondered why this was so. Where were the fathers of the children I wondered and why were these women on the streets even when it was obvious that some could afford to take care of these children without being on the street.
Kpakpo! Truth be told I was baffled.
Particularly on Friday during Jummat prayers where more people could be found praying at the central mosque, these women with twin and triplet children could be found arriving early and jostling for the most visible space on the sidewalk of the mosque.
It’s considered a strange belief but in some communities in the savanna double born births such as twins, triplets and any other ‘lets’, the children are considered as gods so they could be taken back to the spirit world. To ensure their survival, elders of the community and native doctors compelled or advised the mothers to go into begging for not only alms but for goodwill of these little gods. The mothers were made to believe that unless they resorted to begging, their children could die. Which mother would not do anything to ensure the survival of their child – human or god?
Nii Kpakpo that’s why you find these mothers on the streets with their children, sometimes unkempt with mattered hair and pale looks all around town. Some of these children are obviously older, about 3 years old, and still their mothers remain with them on the street.
I always wonder how long they are supposed to stay on the street and who determines the time period. It’s also very strange when I spot some of the women who it’s obvious can take care of their children or one time I saw a luxury car drop one such mother off and noticed that at least she had rich relatives. So why beg?
Nii Kpakpo Thompson you guys in the media should rave and rant about such things. I haven’t seen the abuse here but I’m sure like many of our traditional cultures that are outmoded it is important we weed such practices out. If only our systems were working in this country, this is an issue for social services to handle because definitely it must go against one or two protocols of the United Nations..
Nii Kpakpo using children to beg for alms is wrong, tradition or not and is evident of parental irresponsibility on the part of the fathers of these children and also an indictment on their families. In a highly traditional society as exists in the savanna this is pretty unacceptable.
Well if my twins are born here, be assured that your sister will not be seen in the streets begging for no alms. I’m gonna work my fingers to the bone to make sure they are well taken care of. That I can promise you.
I’m sad but we still life goes on. It’s a hustle but with God as our guide we’d make it.
Keep on keeping on my friend.
Will write to you again soon.
Your Cousin in Law