Being a journalist, is more than just telling stories.
Today, after buying my beloved waakye, I passed-by Sister Tina’s house, her pretty daughters have longed to see me and always pleaded I spend some quality time with them.
“Uncle Ralph, we want to see you,” that’s what they usually tell me on phone.
Since the way to the eatery, is just but, a stone throw from their place of abode, I thought it wise to see them for some thirty minutes, after I purchase my meal.
As planned, I headed to their house thereafter to fulfill the much anticipated visit.
Sister Tina operates a grocery shop just infront of her house. It is where most people in her community shop. She used to work at the British Council until marriage made her a wife house.
She incessantly tells me she regrets such decision though she is happily married and her husband provides the family with almost everything, she will be happier working too.
“Agoo,” I screamed and waited. Within the brink of the eyes, she showed up and, her amazing and adorable offsprings followed.
I guessed her husband was at the living room, feeding his eyes on the latest updates on the dreaded novel coronavirus disease which has caused global scourge on TV.
Usually, I would comfortably sit for us to commerce the chit-chat. However, due to the lockdown imposed by President Nana Addo Darkwa Akufo-Addo, I didn’t.
You should see the smiles written on her daugthers face when they set eyes on me, it was lit. – a brighting one just like what Azumah “Zoom Zoom” Nelson put up after winning a bout.
All these while I stood at the entrance watching in excitement, this ushered us into a twenty minutes conversation about life and work.
Like every chat in recent times which can’t end without the mention of COVID-19, we touched on that subject and the government intervention, particularly, for the less privileged – personally, I do not waste time on unnecessary discourse and she’s also a deep thinker, so the discussion was like Fox and Friends on Fox News.
Soon, it was time to bid goodbye but before we could do that, a deep baritone voice from behind muttered “please see me before you depart,” the voice said in the Twi dialect.
I turned back only to see a physically challenged man, he beckoned. I initially thought he wanted some money owing to the fact that one does not need a soothsayer to know the intention behind such calls from these people in Accra.
I finally ended the conversation with Sister Tina and her daughters promising to be back, at the right time.
Quickly, I rushed to the physical handicap man to discover what informed his decision to call for my assistance.
Within thirty seconds I had arrived and we had already started talking.
Appallingly, he intimated that he was listening attentively to our interaction and was elated, by what occupied the centre of our quarter an hour random talk.
He added that it was a laudable idea that the government planned a relief package for deprived areas, I nodded my head in agreement.
President Nana Addo Darkwa Akufo-Addo announced last Sunday that through this Programme, the Ministries of Gender, Children and Social Protection and Local Government and Rural Development, and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), working with MMDCEs and the faith-based organisations, have begun to provide food for up to 400,000 individuals and homes in the affected areas of the restrictions. This begun in Accra today and will begin in Kumasi tomorrow. It will come in the form of dry food packages and hot meals and will be delivered to vulnerable communities in Accra, Tema, Kumasi and Kasoa.
Again, the Ghana Water Company Ltd and the Electricity Company of Ghana have been directed to ensure the stable supply of water and electricity during this period. In addition, there will be no disconnection of supply. Furthermore, government will absorb the water bills for all Ghanaians for the next three months, i.e. April, May and June. All water tankers, publicly and privately-owned, are also going to be mobilised to ensure the supply of water to all vulnerable communities.
Back to the conversation with the physically challenged man.
Unexpectedly, he humbly requested the hotlines to reach out to officials to claim his share of the goddies.
At this point, I was completely at sea, infact bewildered, knowing truly there was no such channel. However, I apprised him and the look on his face wasn’t encouraging.
Still thinking of an available option to meet his burning desire, he asked whether our community was listed among the deprived areas, of course it wasn’t, but contemplated on divulging to him or otherwise because I couldn’t stand his disappointment.
Upon fighting myself for a few seconds I answered him in the negative and mentioned places classified as less privileged localities, my reply made him almost passed out.
“Oh Akufo-Addo, why did you excluded us?” said the physically challenged man sadly with teary eyes.
As I was leaving he pleaded I make his voice heard and the government come to his aid.
He also alluded that apart from the president’s known intervention he will be glad he announces a friendly livelihood support, such as crediting the mobile wallet of all and sundry with at least GHS 300.
He argued that such pittance, will go a long way to delight him.
In addition, he asked Akufo-Addo to make electricity also free for three months because he does not have access to water which has already been made free.
Now, I believe there are a lot of people out there like this man who are poor but unfortunately, find themselves in areas the government least expected to see poor people reside.
What does he feed on throughout this period? Apparently, he cannot afford basic essentials. He will need help badly as a palliative means to endure the untold hardship the coronavirus pandemic has brought.
Many Ghanaians are in a dire need of financial help to enable them withstand the hardship caused by the contagion and subsequent lockdown imposed on the nation. Truth is, millions are dying of hunger and critical help is needed to salvage the situation.
Was the government’s interventionan failure ab initio?