I visited the passport office to enquire about the documentation needed to acquire a Ghanaian passport.

The day seemed to me a blessing since I was a step closer to getting a passport so I could ‘japa’ – migrate to a foreign country to seek greener pastures.

At the office, I was told I needed a birth certificate, a national identity card and proof of profession, and GH¢150. Wow! that seemed easy.

A fortnight later, I returned with all the necessary documents to process my passport. At the centre, I went through all the verification processes and I waited for my turn to take a passport picture.

Just when I was about to have a picture taken, the lights went out. The security personnel on the ground advised that we [applicants] remain calm as they rolled the curtain up to allow a bit of light.

I told myself nothing will hinder my soon-to-be-born blessing, not even the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

Not long after that, the fire alarm went off.

I surveyed the office from where I was seated and it seemed to me like a faulty gadget. I encouraged myself with these words “once the electricity is restored the awful sound from the alarm will cease”.

Two to five minutes on, I realised that the staff of the passport office, one after the other, made their way to the emergency exit. The security personnel speaking in whispers asked why passport applicants were still seated after the fire alarm was signaling danger.

The facility manager noticed all applicants were still seated in the waiting area, and directed that we step out.

As I stepped out, I asked myself what came over me to sit unconcerned after a fire alarm had gone off? I was broken and disappointed in myself. I was so focused on taking a passport picture at the risk of my life.

That was my friend, Sandra narrating her experience at the passport office.

So I asked: what was the problem with their system?

Sandra: I don’t know. I left after we were asked to step outside. After all, there was no light.

Love: I understand. I am glad you are fine, next time please put your life first. If you lose your life in the process of seeking a better life, what use is it?

Sandra’s call came at 11:30 am on a sunny Tuesday morning.

This got me thinking about how bad the economy could be, to force people to sit unconcerned in a passport office where a fire alarm had gone off.

Yaw and the Sugar Mummy

During my lunch break, there were three young guys in the kitchen; Kojo, Kwame and Yaw (not their real names). I asked if it was okay for me to join them. They said they did not mind. Neither did I.

As I ate, I could not help but listen in on their conversation.

Kojo thanked his friend, Kwame for drawing his attention to an affordable food joint that would reduce the amount of money he spends daily.

Kwame interjected, “ooh I understand food is very expensive.” Yaw told them that was the reason he had to wait on people almost every weekend so he could get extra money to afford food and basic needs.

Kwame told his friends he was in search of a food vendor who has a young daughter whom he could befriend so that at least he gets free food.

Yaw, sharing the same view, began to narrate how a caterer he had rendered his waiting services to, seemed to be very fond of him and kept asking after him from his boss until she took his number.

Yaw told his friends that less than five minutes after the woman got his contact, she sent money to appreciate him for his services and ooh! he believes it was an answer to his morning prayer. He had hoped to receive some money because he was ‘broke’.

He hinted that he will be at the woman’s beck and call no matter her needs, whether for business or pleasure. Both friends nodded in agreement.

One thing is clear. All these guys know boys who are younger than they are, but lived relatively comfortably since they were involved in fraud.

These three friends did not want to get themselves mixed up in fraudulent activities, especially because they believed these fraudsters had to visit fetish priests for some kind of charm to sway people into sending monies.

Before I knew it their attention came back to me and Kwame asked ‘ooh you are here, tell us if we are wrong’ …I was blank.

What could I tell these young men who seemed to have their minds made up?

Worst of pressure from society compounded their plight?

Could I blame them, no?

The struggles presented by the current economic system are what they have to endure daily.

Then I understood that young people like my friend, Sandra, Kojo, Kwame, and Yaw are determined to have better lives but at what cost?

If the government is reading this; please fix the situation, and make the country better so young people won’t do things they might live to regret.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.