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Being overly kind to others can be disastrous to you – Personal experience

Kindness Benefits 45 Random act of kindness. File photo

Mon, 15 Feb 2021 Source: Rockson Adofo

May my wife pardon me for this publication? She does not like seeing or hearing me cite my personal life experiences in advice to others. She thinks the narratives may be very disgraceful because my level of wisdom and knowledge should have catapulted me to a higher prosperous level than my current status.

However, I prefer to use either my life stories or that of close friends or relatives to advising people to reaching for far away examples which may be true or false.

Today’s publication is all about the inherent dangers, humiliation, disrespectfulness and retardations in life in regards to material prosperity so desperately in pursuit by the Ghanaian or the black African.

In 1972 and as a student at then Kumawu Tweneboa Kodua Secondary School (TKSS), I went home on one Saturday morning on a day’s exeat. Exeat means permission from a college, boarding school, or other institution for temporary absence. On my way back to school on that sunny afternoon, I was met in the street in front of one Uncle Yaw Agyei’s store at the junction of the road leading from the centre of Kumawu to Tweneboa Kodua Secondary School by one Joanna Acheampong, a daughter of then Kumawu paramount Chief Barima Otuo Acheampong.

Joanna was my friend by way of belonging to the group of the girls that I was close to, all of whom attended Kumawu Local Authority (L/A) No.2 school while I attended L/A No. 1. Both middle schools until today do share a common open boundary.

When she saw me approach from a distance, she told a group of my TKSS seniors with whom she was standing that she would approach me to ask for money. Yes, when I got to Uncle Yaw Agyei’s store, she came to me, first mentioning my name, then greetings and said, “I have not eaten the whole day. I am very hungry. Could you please give me some money to buy something to eat?”

I immediately put my hand in my pocket and gave her “Sere mmienu” (two shillings in Nkrumah’s time before the conversion of the money into Cedis and I can’t tell exactly how much it was in Cedis or pesewas but it was quite a big sum of money to feed her).

Little did I know about what she had said about me to my four seniors before approaching me with her request. The seniors were Bamfo, Opoku Mensah, Gyesaw and Kofi Agyen. The first three were from Kumawu same as I, with the last one coming from Asante Beposo. However, they were all students of TKSS and were my seniors by two years.

When they came back to school, one of them currently living in the USA, called me the next morning. He said to me, be careful of Joanna. I am a man so I am going to tell you exactly what she told us about you. I was not pleased with it at all. He said, “Do you remember that yesterday she approached you in the street to ask for me? We were with her in front of the store. We were very hungry and had not eaten the whole day. When she saw you approach, she said look, Rockson is coming. “Wa gyimi oo” (He is very STUPID). You watch, I will approach him to collect money to buy food to feed all of us and as stupid as he is, he will surely give it to me. You mark my words”. She had arranged with them to hide away before she approached me.

Ever since that revelation was made to me, I vowed never to speak to Joanna again and I have since not. I don’t know where she is for almost the past forty-five years or more. Her father passed away in 1973.

Someone is hungry. You help the person and she takes your offer of assistance for your stupidity. This is not limited to her alone. It is the nature of most Ghanaians. They take your leniency to be your weakness and your kindness for your stupidity. At least, Joanna did demonstrate that.

Again, a certain old lady, now deceased, encroached on my purchased 200-acre farmland at Wraponso near Asokore in the Ashanti region. The case was reported to the police. In the heat of the issue, she realised her mistake, brought elderly persons to beg me and accepted to pull out of the land. I had compassion upon her.

At the police station and in front of many people, I told the woman that every year when the cocoa is harvested, I will give her a third of the proceeds, a third to her caretaker and a third to me. She was shocked to hear me make such a generous offer to them. She was rather expecting me to be harsh on her and chase them out.

In the end, her caretaker had a fight with her. The caretaker said he could not understand why the woman should have any share in the proceeds from my farm since she is doing nothing about it but he, the caretaker, is the one doing all the job. In short, the woman took him to court while I was in London. She was able to take a portion of the land as hers. The caretaker has himself passed away about six years or so ago. Nonetheless, his children who had stepped into his shoes were cheating me by way of stealing some of the cocoa beans after harvest and weighing them separately as theirs before sharing the other portion with me.

Would I have lost any land to them if I had driven them away from the onset when they accepted that they had encroached on my land? No. As we speak, I have abandoned the entire farm project after investing hundreds of thousands of Ghana Cedis in it. Nearly 80 acres were citrus, some acres were teak and others cocoa.

Now as I speak, some relatives of the old woman did approach my sister when she went to Ghana on holiday about two months ago trying to resurrect the promise I made to the deceased old woman many years ago. The little cocoa farm left for me of which I have never received a pesewa from and do not even know how it is being cared for, they are coming back to claim a share of it. When you are that overly kind, people will always take you for a big fool.

For all the huge sums of money spent on the farm on which I once had 18 farm helps (labourers) for years, I did not clawback a pesewa from the investment, let alone, making any profit.

The labourers were paid monthly while at the same time cultivating portions of the land for their own personal use without giving me anything back. It turned out that they were spending barely two hours on the farm doing my job contrary to what I knew and had agreed with them to be doing. Also, they could stay for weeks without working, contrary as agreed, because my two appointed supervisors could leave the farm for months but were drawing their monthly salary without my knowledge.

To be continued.

Columnist: Rockson Adofo