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'Mr Rosemond'

Mawuli Zogbenu 1212.jpeg Mawuli Zogbenu is the author

Mon, 18 Jul 2022 Source: Mawuli Zogbenu

No matter how luxurious your company car is, respect your own bicycle and never let your classmate know how much you are earning o. He/she may not necessarily be envious of how ‘big’ your salary is. However, my fear is that some ‘pupils’ will suffer from your friend for the information you have divulged.

After school, I was teaching in a private school and though the pressure was great, the pay was commensurate with the pressure and compensative enough to make me manage.

I taught for quite a number of years until I met Bedu, my classmate who was even more intelligent than me this idiot writing this ‘lies’ to you to read.

He was teaching in another private basic school. That school was less endowed than the one in which I taught. We discussed how we could travel abroad for greener pastures even if it meant carrying ‘anything’ for the obroni.

After all, some of our mates who were abroad have started building houses and remitted their families quite satisfactorily. For us back here, it was difficult to pay for even a single room.

Indeed, I often say that no matter how bad or slow your car may be, when you get to the Tema motorway, you too would overtake somebody!

I told him how much I was earning as a teacher in a Montessori but still needed to travel abroad to ‘hosle’. I showed him a copy of my payslip and Bedu started crying; not at my pay. The gap between mine and his was big!

My pay was about 5 times better than my friend’s. His change in countenance made me feel bad, very bad and I regretted showing my payslip to him.

I later learnt that when my friend entered the classroom, he started beating every student in sight for no apparent reason. Some of the reasons were that he felt offended when he saw a student smiling. His assumption was that such a student might be laughing at his Togoh jeans.

He would then descend on him or her heavily with the cane! You should by now know the source of his unnecessary anger or?

When Bedu later ‘regained consciousness, that was when he told me the harm I had caused him; I have added salt to his injury. According to him, the youngest of his 3 children around that same time asked him why he had started growing grey hair at such a relatively young age to which the eldest child reacted: ‘Oh you don’t know what grey hair is? It means Daddy is about to die from poverty, soon’.

He was ‘spiritually’ shocked at the interpretation of his 7-year-old seeing grey hair on his head. That got him worried as his salary was nothing to put much food on the table!

Later the following year, we both managed to get genuine visas to the Obroni’s land. My brother, don’t be deceived o. It’s harrrrrrrrrrrrrrd undignifying work. The kind of work I would not accept to do here in Ghana even if they were to pay me very well. Whaaaaat! I was lucky to get a job in a restaurant to be dressing fowls.

With my 6-month-long visa, I didn’t have ‘papers’ so I had to use someone’s name to work and my pay was going into that person’s account whose N.I. I was using. I was working alright but had to beg the owner of my ‘borrowed name’ anytime I needed to access money. The ‘borrowed’ name I used for my employment was ‘Rosemond’. The problem this name gave me er.

One day I was standing right in front of my restaurant supervisor who was shouting my name one million times ‘Mr Rosemond, Mr Rosemond, Rooooooosemond’. No response. Then he came to tap me on my shoulder in anger, ‘Mr Rosemond, what is wrong with you? Can’t you hear me calling you?’ Immediately I ‘heleshi’. My answer was nearly instinctive and that could have put me into trouble.

I nearly said that was not my name before I remembered that it was the borrowed name I was using to work. ‘Oh sorry, Sir, my attention was so much on the work and I didn’t hear you, Sir’, I apologized with explanation!

He later invited me to his office and queried why I was bearing ‘Rosemond’ when, clearly, it is a female name. I smartly explained that back in Ghana the name ‘Rosemond’ can be used by both males and females and he nodded in agreement la ah!

Bedu was also working in a children’s care centre taking care of babies. That was when you could see a Master’s degree holder from Ghana singing ‘Baby Kaafo mahey lorley mahan bo….’ (to wit baby don’t cry…I would buy you a car). I taught him how to sing ‘Tuutu Gborvi….’ and he sang it with such horrible voice scaring these innocent little babies.

These lullabies sung to an Obroni-ba didn’t do anything to put them to sleep but instead they only delighted in passing etuabo gas in the face of the Ghanaian ‘hosler’! Of course Ghanaian lullabies are for Ghanaian babies to sleep but not Obroni babies’.

The lullabies for Obroni babies are ‘’classical music’. Anytime some of these obroni babies hear such Ghanaian lullabies, they frown and vex. Wey kan kakai songs be this! Hahaaaa!

Bedu on the other hand, was also using an interesting name to work. You would be amazed at the name he used to work – Obaa Yaa! He was safer than my own case because obroni could not tell if Obaa Yaa was male or female.

For Bedu, his only problem was that he could be standing facing his supervisor and they would call him saaaaaa and he wouldn’t hear. Of course that is not his real name! Ao! ‘Mr Obaa Yaa, Mr Obaa Yaa, Mr Obaa Yaa’….kpadii! Suddenly Bedu became ‘deaf and dumb’ because of poverty and the quest to survive!

In fact, in times like this, it would take a much longer time for his ears to open. How could he hear anything? Ern?

Apart from all of these, things were not easy at all. We could not have fun or say early morning prayers at work. No musical noise like ‘Yessss, yoghurt’ or ‘Yesss Shine, Shoe Talking’.

Woe unto you if you fall sick small. I was personally dying in silence from hernia attacks and calls from relatives and friends from GH would not stop coming as they made matters worse with their very high expectations and demands. Pressure paaaa nie? Hei!

I one day visited Bedu at the workplace and he told me he wanted to come back to Ghana because he could not understand why he had to be changing baby diapers every 2 minutes and be washing different sizes of feeding bottles to earn a living. ‘Abaa s3m nyi? Teaching in Ghana would have been far better and more dignifying, he opined.

In fact the purpose of my visit to his workplace was to apply for some part time job but I changed my mind upon seeing a ‘man’ who also presented himself as a baby using a chamber pot. I saw this 8-year-old ‘boy-man’ also there poopooing every 10 minutes and according to Bedu, it’s something he does regularly and Bedu was responsible for cleaning the mess thereafter. Yes o!

At a point, we made up our minds that we would stop these undignifying jobs and come back to GH. Today, he is a Relationship Manager in a reputable bank and I, by the grace of God, I write this ‘useless’ stuff! Suffering in another man’s country this way is not fair o.

Surprisingly, I saw everything happening in GH as bad! I condemned our leaders and saw every government policy as not good enough and describing some of my peers back home as ‘some kan way’!

It’s so unfair how some of us leave the shores of Ghana to develop another man’s country and look down back on our own. Sometimes I feel some of us sojourning abroad should be careful how we describe everything in GH as bad!

We could equally stay in the ‘bad heat’ here like everybody else is doing and help solve the problems here rather than exporting our ‘superior brains’ to go and develop another’s and expect the supposed ‘inferior brains’ back home to meet our expectations. So unfair abi? Hmmm!

So you actually believe I worked abroad before? You have a problem. Maybe you forgot how I was going for a European visa and asked if I had travelled ABROAD before and when I said ‘Yes’. The next question was ‘to where’ and when I said ‘Togo’, the speed with which they bounced me er!

Ghana sweet o, let us stay here and work hard and don’t expect any holiday again on Monday o, yoo!

Columnist: Mawuli Zogbenu