Picture Perfect

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

So there is this picture that keeps playing in my head almost on a daily basis maybe because it’s a scene I see everyday as I take your sister to the roadside to get a cab to work whilst holding hands.

There is this community school that we have to go through to get to the roadside and that early in the morning the pupils who report to school are supposed to be cleaning up the compound and preparing for assembly which starts the day ahead.

Kpakpo you remember our days in primary school when this was taken serious and latecomers were dealt with harshly for not partaking in the cleaning of the school compound.

In this particular picture here is what happens. Some of the younger pupils go to a nearby park and play soccer, Yes! In the morning before assembly, some just chase each other on the compound, others pretend to be doing some picking whilst some others are seen actually sweeping and gathering the dirt on the compound to be collected and sent to the waste disposal point. In all this the teachers look on callously sitting on a bench in the corner catching up on the latest gossip and discussing politics.

Oh! For the sellers on the compound it’s just business as usual with children spending pocket money on candy and soup.

Any3mi! I swear I saw one woman selling soup.

Nii Kpakpo Thompson, so what is wrong with this picture? Back in our days cleaning the compound was a communal act which was the responsibility of the collective school body and the teachers enforced this. Woe betides you if during clean up you were doing something else and much more if you were late.

To this effect the compound is never really clean and pupils pretend to be busy so you see a pupil pick just a polythene bag off the floor and head towards the communal disposal buckets provided by the metropolitan assembly and walk by other bags on the floor of the compound. Mind you, the bins are already full since they haven’t been cleared in a few days so this same pupil will drop it off halfway as if expecting the wind to carry it to its final destination.

Kpakpo, here is what that journey is like. Pupil picks a single polythene at the tip of her fingers from among the gathered filth, walks over it and heads towards the communal bins. She has to jump over the gutter full of more filth since more often than not when it’s gathered and left unattended the filth settles in the gutter and is ignored until rains come to wash them off. She follows those carrying the trough or whatever they have used to collect the gathered rubbish, which the wind freely takes liberty with and blows helter skelter , all the while chattering with her other friend also with just a leaf at her finger tips, walking side by side. A few meters to the already bursting rubbish bucket dump they dump their possession without even getting close to the dump thus creating more rubbish on the already cluttered floor, wipe their fingers on their pinafore skirt and head back to the school compound to wait for assembly. Their clean up contribution towards the cleanliness of their school compound is done for the day.

Nii Kpakpo, these are the future leaders of the country and if we can’t make the correlation between what kinda children they are now to what sort of leaders they will become then this picture is indeed a perfect picture of the true state of our nation Ghana.

I know you keep telling me I worry too much about our nation but Kpakpo this is the only motherland I have and you know how much I enjoy being Ghanaian. If I don’t worry and try to do something about it who will.

Anyways, this is me writing from way up in the savanna and I’m sure this perfect picture is not an isolated case. Let’s pray it gets better and the glass frame gets broken to break the jinx so we can take another picture.

Keep doing you sir.
Till later then.

Your Cousin in Law,
Savannah Boy

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