Village girls and the servitude profiteers
By Maxwell Obiri-Yeboah
“The God who created the tailless animal,” the good old saying goes, “provides a way for it to ward off pests.” No matter the magnitude that makes life unbearable to live, I do not believe in one sending his/her child to stay elsewhere or with someone.
Most often, our bad situations are actually blessings in disguise!
We must note that there are some organised groups which are hovering around and pretending to be helping needy families, but they are rather building their empires and benefitting hugely from this venture [I don’t know whether to call it human trafficking], especially children who are sent to stay with the ‘rich folks’ in our society. These children are suffering without their parents’ knowledge.
Over the weekend, I visited a colleague here in Accra, and I witnessed a strange scene that I know the lessons learnt are worth sharing. In that house were about six children, ranging from five to 18 years, living with a woman. I was briefed that the woman in question was running a sort of non-governmental organisation (NGO) in the house. She often travels to the hinterlands to bring these innocent ones to stay with her in the name of giving them a better life in the city, and they often come in batches, I was told.
Later, she would travel outside the country with the particulars of these children to solicit funds from foreigners with the motive of catering for them, but often times, these funds are diverted towards her personal agenda.
Periodically, she travels to these girls’ routes and showers their parents with gifts – thus, surplus from the alms given her to support these kids economically and finance their education too.
My colleague continued that though the woman may be doing well in their upkeep, she keeps raining insults on them [children], and they are often given heavy strokes of lashes at the slightest mistake or provocation.
Because their parents are far from Accra and she is the only person they know, they are often under duress and fear of voicing out the trauma they go through in the hands of this woman to anyone in the neighbourhood.
At exactly 1:26 am last Sunday, we were done talking and I was going to use the washroom for the last time before climbing into bed. As I stepped out to the washroom, there I saw the child [pictured above] of about 10 years old sleeping on the cold floor at this unexpected area, as she was battling with mosquitoes.
So I got closer to have a better view, took a picture of her before waking her up to enquire why she was lying there. She narrated that she was sent, and on her arrival, her mother’s (the guardian) door was locked. After knocking the door countless times, she was not opened and she took some rags she could get hold of and tried sleeping on the floor. The guardian has since then denied any wrong doing and refused to comment on the matter, but her neighbours say she is not being truthful. My sources also showed me some spots where these issues, though the narratives are different, are occurring in huge numbers on daily bases.
That moment, the thoughts that flashed through my mind were that this young girl could be kidnapped, raped or fall sick under this weather. I am not sure the guardian would have allowed her biological daughter to sleep at this rare place anytime. But it is happening to someone’s daughter in her custody. I was very sad!
It is no fault of hers to be born into a family that is not financially sound, but it is the duty of her parents to ensure that the basic necessities of life are given her. It is her right to feel loved and be loved.
Parents must learn to love and appreciate what they have. Many people are looking for the rare opportunity to conceive and be called ‘mothers’. We must understand that no matter the situation, God is capable of blessing us with all the resources to take good care of our very own.
For parents who give their wards to people to stay with, I recommend regular and surprise check-ups to ensure they are in safe hands. The truth is, some of these little ones are really facing hell-on-earth in the hands of some of these so-called good Samaritans, who are but the devil’s own puppets.
Bringing them up in these harsh conditions tend to later affect their mental development. Those insults thrown at them all the time diminishes their self esteem.
This, I believe, is how come we have people like the renowned Sexy Don Don, the alleged killer of the late parliamentarian, Joseph Boakye Danquah, former Member of Parliament for the Abuakwa South Constituency in the Eastern Region. From the chronology of events and the exhibition of his attitude, one thing is loud and clear, he is prepared for any outcome the court deems fit. He has nothing to loose. And anyone with such a mentality, surely, is a dangerous person.
Probably, Sexy Don Don did not get that kind of good guidance to from a guardian while growing up to instruct and shape his thoughts and attitude. Maybe he did not see that kind of love and care flowing from that wonderful parent, or the environment he was raised was hostile and got him corrupted.
Probably, he has been raised to understand that life is all about survival; you have to take those routes and shortcuts to get to your destination and in the process, you have to overtake your opposing forces or bring them down by any means possible – survival of the fittest.
They [recalcitrant children] tend to be liabilities on the state. Their talents and strengths are often buried, and we only see the monster in them, as huge sums of monies are often spent in either caging or detaching them from violence; reshaping their mentalities, attitudes and giving them something to hold on to earn a living, whereas this could be done in the beginning by some simple gestures – attention and caring for their well being.
A child’s mind, like a brand new pen drive, is blank and untouched. How you use it determines if it would be corrupted or remain pure. As it is written in Proverbs 22:6: “Train up the child the way he should go, and when he grows he will not depart from it.”
This issue has been reported to the authorities and they are investigating the matter. Domestic slavery and child labour are still occurring in various forms. And, we must join forces to collectively end it.