Agyaaku your grandson greets you ooo. I arrived safely at Amanone by the grace of Tweeduampon and Nananom. I hope you and Awo, my grandma, are doing well. I miss the whole family and our Mesuaamehunu village. Nonetheless, I am doing very well here. It’s been a long time since we communicated, so I decided to write to you what I have been observing at the neighbouring community, the Omanfoforo town. I would write this epistle not as an academic or expert, but as a reasonable human being who has a conscience (apologies to Lawyer S.L. Anyenini).
Agyaaku, these people of Omanfoforo town are blessed! Odomankoma gave them everything. It makes me envy them at times. Gold, diamond, bauxite, manganese, timber, you name it; they have it all. Recently, they also found oil (not ‘adwe ngo’ ooo, ‘fangoo’ paaa, the one we put in vehicles and generator sets). I guess you are thinking they must be richer than our Mesuaamehunu village? Well, it’s true and false! As smart as you are, it won’t take you much effort to read between the lines as we proceed. Agyaaku I have to commend you and the entire family again for your foresight and thoughtfulness in taking us to school. You made us know that the Mesuaamehunu land is getting smaller per capita so our best bet was to get an education so as to be independent and ‘somebody’ in future. Your kids and grandkids thought you and Awo were worrying us. Now, we see the sense in what you did. We are reaping the benefits. Thank you very much for giving us education! But why won’t we thank you? The benefits of education have been enormous to us as individuals, to the family as well as to society. I will enumerate a few, going forward.
See, Agyaaku, as an individual, education has given me the ability to read, write and contribute to knowledge. Well, Nana, that reminds me of the ‘okraman wo fie ha’ story you used to tell us. How for his inability to read and understand, okusie got into a house clearly marked ‘there is okraman in this house’. Had the rat had education, he would not have entered the dog’s abode. Secondly, education provides decent livelihoods to individuals. According to statistics, high school graduates earn as much as twice what those who have not been to high school earn. University graduates, in turn, earn a little more than twice what high school graduates earn. Thus education is directly proportional to one’s earnings. That is true with my situation as compared to other people I know who dropped out of high school or prior and are engaged in ‘by day’ work, as we used to term it. There are a lot more but I will leave you with these two, Agyaaku.
On the societal front, education makes it possible to advance technology. We build on people’s inventions by studying what it is, constructively criticising it and advancing its frontiers to make it more effective and efficient, all by way of education. I visited a pig farm in Amanone town and 4 people were in charge of the farm. They were taking care of 3000 pigs! Grandpaa nono, you opened your eyes wide. You are surprised. But you know how they do it? Everything was mechanized and automated. It can be operated even with the mobile phone, thanks to technology gained through education. How many are the pigs being kept by Kwaadu and his 6 workers? Not even a hundred pigs. Ahaa, Agyaaku, one more thing. Education enhances socio-cultural harmony in our societies. You remember my studies at Amanone? My class was made up of about people from almost 20 nationalities – from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico through USA, Nigeria, South Africa to Bangladesh, Thailand, Singapore, back to Italy, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and many more. The cultural disparities were as different as you can imagine but there was a complete understanding and cohesion thanks to education. Education makes us understand and interact with people better. Tell you what Nana? We are able to co-exist peacefully when the Allahu Akbarus, the Praise the Lords and the Obiri Komfos mingle in class. We are at peace because the ayoyo eaters are living among the kontomire consumers in schools; the reverse applies too. Thus, why would someone antagonise or be perceived to antagonise, education? Do you think far about it, Agyaaku? And why would I not be an apostle for education?
You know how we your grandkids cherish you and the entire family? It was your combined effort of taku and simpoa that saw us through education. Yes, our parents, your kids, did their best for us in our school days but when it became tougher for them financially, an uncle, an aunty, a grandma or grandpa stepped in to bail us out of the situation. That was always a relief. I remember the a-little-over-subsistence farming, tomato selling, local gin brewing, kenkey selling, fetching and selling of firewood and a lot more, that we did just to help our parents to cater for us during our high school and university days. Many a time, we skipped classes due to these financial stresses. We needed to skip class to help in the family ventures so we can raise enough money to continue schooling. We were not alone in such soup, I know; others had worse experiences. But fortunately, today things are better for us. Our situation has changed positively, thanks to the seed of education sown in us.
But come to think of it; what about those who were in similar situations but were not privileged to have their parents and the family support as we had? Their education and ambitions were curtailed, was it not? Some sailed through making the most of what they laid their hands on when they could not continue to, or dropped out of high school for lack of financial support. But most of them, though my age mates or younger, are now looking like our fathers, physically. Hardships and lack of opportunities as a result of limited education have really given them a beating. They had the brains. They could have been engineers, doctors, bankers, teachers, nurses, etc. Their family could not help them when it comes to education. The larger society also turned its back on them. And now see the results from their status in life. Should their kids also suffer the same fate? How can their families and by extension the larger society to break through and say goodbye to poverty if this way of getting education becomes the order of the day? Should it be a kind of survival of the fittest? There should be a better way than this, should there not?
Agyaaku, the situation I am pointing out in the paragraph above, pertaining to our village, is not different from that of the Omanfoforo Town ooo. But I will talk to you about theirs and what they are doing about it in my next epistle. In the meantime, I sign off with one of your favourites, ‘Ohia Ma Adwendwen by Kaakaiku’; let’s see how the tortoise attends the funeral at the tree top where his friend, the spider monkey, lives.
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